Right reasoning versus the "elephant" approach

An old fable that children of all ages in India enjoy is that of six blind men who have never seen an elephant. They travel to the palace of a rajah where each of them touches and feels a different part of the beast.

The first blind man feels the side and states, "An elephant is like a wall." The second man feels the trunk and declares, "An elephant is like a snake." This approach is repeated by all the others, who report their individual impressions of the elephant: tusk—like a spear; leg—like a tree; ear—like a fan; and tail—like a rope. After much argument about what an elephant is really like, the rajah settles the matter by telling the men the importance of finding out the whole truth. See Lillian Quigley, The Blind Men and the Elephant (New York: Charles Scribner's Sons, 1959) .

February 13, 1984

We'd love to hear from you!

Easily submit your testimonies, articles, and poems online.