Many years ago in a small Indian village, six men, six blind men to be precise were chatting about the creatures of the village and how they contributed to village life. During the conversation it was announced that an elephant had wandered into the village. As none of the men had seen or encountered an elephant before, they decided to investigate and find out more about the elephant. So the six blind men, skilled in their ability to see things and understand them through the way they felt made their way over to the elephant to make its acquaintance.
Upon reaching the elephant the first man started feeling the beast’s leg, and with his skilled hands he ran his fingers over the elephants leg. Confidently he smiled and said to the rest of the group. “I now know what an elephant is, I can feel it, the elephant is like a tree, solid and rooted to the ground”.
The second man, who was engaged with the elephant’s tail replied “Ah, I think you are mistaken, I understand the elephant and know what the elephant is like. I can feel it, the elephant is very much like a rope” he said, as he stepped back with his newly found knowledge.
The third man laughed, “No no no”, he chuckled as he ran his hands over the elephant’s trunk. “The elephant is like the anaconda, I know what it is as I can feel it”
The fourth man near the head of the elephant was running his hands over the creatures big ears. “I can feel it, The elephant, is like a fan” he declared as he confidently stepped away from the beast.
“You are all completely wrong” scoffed the fifth man, who ran his fingers across the side of the stomach of the elephant. “I know I feel, and what I feel is the elephant is like a wall’
Finally the sixth man, who was sure he knew what an elephant was like stated his conclusion, “The elephant, is like a spear, I can feel it” he told his peers as he caressed the long sharp and smooth tusks of the elephant.
With such differing reports of what the elephant ‘is’ . The six blind men, who all knew what and elephant felt like to them, began to argue. The situation grew more and more heated and the men became more irritated with each other, as all of them knew what they had felt to be correct.
Just then a young child, also blind came along to where the six men were now arguing quite furiously. He walked over to the elephant, and starting at the tip of the elephant’s truck, he ran his hands all over the elephant, taking his time until he had absorbed everything there was to know about the animal.
Interrupting the six arguing blind men, he stated “I have encountered the elephant, and I know exactly what it is like” he said boldly. The six blind men stopped arguing and turned their attention to the boy. “The elephant is all the things you said and more, and all of you are correct in part, however all of you are wrong, for I know what the elephant is really like I know it” he said with a smug grin. “The elephant, is like an elephant” he said.
The blind men stopped arguing, and each explored the entire animal, before concluding that the boy was indeed correct, “The elephant is like an elephant” they said, and order was returned.