Once upon a time, in a distant village, there lived six blind men who heard that a strange creature, called an elephant, had been brought to town. None of them were aware of its shape and form.
Out of curiosity, they said, “We must inspect and know it by touch, of which we are capable.” So, they sought it out, and when they found it, they groped about it.
The first person, whose hand landed on the trunk, said, “This being is like a thick snake.”
For another one, whose hand reached its ear, it seemed like a kind of fan. “An elephant is like a fan,” he said.
As for another person, whose hands were upon its leg, said, “The elephant is a pillar like a tree-trunk.”
The blind man who placed his hand upon its side said, “Elephant is a wall.”
Another who felt its tail, described it as a rope. “The elephant is like a rope,” he declared.
Lastly, another felt its tusk, stating, “The elephant is that which is hard, smooth and like a spear.”
In this way, they discussed what the elephant was like, each insisting on his own perception. They began to argue, shouting loudly to support their own views. A wise man was passing by and heard the commotion. He stopped and asked them, “What is the matter?”
They told him, “We cannot agree on what the elephant is like.” Each one of them told what he thought the elephant was like. The wise man calmly explained, “All of you are right. The reason every one of you is telling it differently is because each one of you touched a different part of the elephant. So, actually, the elephant has all the features you mentioned.”
Also Read: The Bundle Of Sticks
Moral of the Story
Different perspectives can each hold a part of the truth, and only through shared understanding can the full picture be realized.
This story teaches us that there may be some truth to what someone says. Often we have a partial view of reality. It reminds us to respect and listen to different perspectives. The blind men’s argument could have been avoided if they had talked and listened to each other, combining their experiences to understand the full truth.
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