The Blind Men & the Elephant


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Is there's something bigger than all of us?


We find intelligent people debating the issue of creation versus evolution, and within each camp we find more debates that splinter both the believers and non-believers alike.

Perhaps we should all learn something from the old parable of the blind men and the elephant.  Perhaps we all have a piece of a truth that is much bigger than any of us, and we'll all learn more if we try to understand the experience, reason and belief that lead to each other's viewpoints.

It was six men of Indostan
To learning much inclined,
Who went to see the Elephant
(Though all of them were blind),
That each by observation
Might satisfy his mind.

The First approached the Elephant,
And happening to fall
Against his broad and sturdy side,
At once began to bawl:
"God bless me! but the Elephant
Is very like a wall!"

The Second, feeling of the tusk
Cried, "Ho! what have we here,
So very round and smooth and sharp?
To me `tis mighty clear
This wonder of an Elephant
Is very like a spear!"

The Third approached the animal,
And happening to take
The squirming trunk within his hands,
Thus boldly up he spake:
"I see," quoth he, "the Elephant
Is very like a snake!"

The Fourth reached out an eager hand,
And felt about the knee:
"What most this wondrous beast is like
Is mighty plain," quoth he;
"'Tis clear enough the Elephant
Is very like a tree!"

The Fifth, who chanced to touch the ear,
Said: "E'en the blindest man
Can tell what this resembles most;
Deny the fact who can,
This marvel of an Elephant
Is very like a fan!"

The Sixth no sooner had begun
About the beast to grope,
Than, seizing on the swinging tail
That fell within his scope.
"I see," quoth he, "the Elephant
Is very like a rope!"

And so these men of Indostan
Disputed loud and long,
Each in his own opinion
Exceeding stiff and strong,
Though each was partly in the right,
And all were in the wrong!

Source:  http://www.noogenesis.com/pineapple/blind_men_elephant.html

The text for this edition appears to be in the public domain.
Copyright 1998-9 by Duen Hsi Yen, All rights reserved.
Illustration: 1999 by Jason Hunt


 


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