Imagine that six blind men encounter an elephant

Imagine that six blind men encounter an elephant for the first time … One blind man bumps into the leg of the elephant, feeling it carefully… Another blind man bumps into the trunk of the elephant which is swaying around and groping in his pocket looking for food … Another blind man bumps into the elephant’s tail… which is hanging limply down from above, and he carefully feels the tail … Another blind man bumps into the side of the elephant, and feels it… Another blind man groping around, feels an ear of the elephant, which the elephant is flapping back and forth… the last blind man bumps into one of the elephants tusks, feeling the sharp point of the tusk… Later, they are discussing their experience of feeling an elephant … The first blind man says, “An elephant is like a tree trunk growing up out of the ground” …“The second blind man says, “no, no, an elephant is not like a tree trunk, an elephant is like a big snake, twisting and moving around” … The third blind man says, ” No, an elephant is not like a tree or snake, an elephant is like a thick rope hanging down from above !” … The fourth blind man say, “no, an elephant is like a wall”… the fifth blind man says,”you are all wrong, an elephant is like a fan flapping back and forth”… and the last blind man says, “it is not like any of those things, “It is like a spear with a sharp point”… Each one knows what he experienced and to him that is the “truth”, so each blind man is convinced that he is “right”, and the other five are “wrong” … These rational blind men will easily conclude that an elephant cannot be “a tree”, “a wiggling snake”, “a rope hanging down”, “a wall”, a “flapping fan”, and a sharp spear”, all at the same time … If each of these blind men were a “prophet”, and the elephant were the “God concept”, each would found a different religion based on his own experience … Each would espouse a seemingly different God concept, which each would claim to be true … The six concepts (the leg, the trunk, the tail, the side, the ear, and the tusk of the elephant) would seem to be six totally different contradictory ideas … But if they could “see” the whole elephant they would realize that there was no contradiction … Each had experienced a detail of the total elephant …But each had missed the concept of “ELEPHANT” completely … In this way, each was true, and yet each was also false.

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  1. #1 by webhosting christmas 2010 coupon code on December 29, 2010 - 15:34

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  2. #2 by John Barron Jr. on November 27, 2010 - 11:41

    But I think you are still missing my point. The illustration assumes that a prophet of a particular religious system does not have direct communication from God. That no religion does have the truth about God, with the exception of the story teller. Somehow he has the inside knowledge about how knowable God is and who it is that knows about God i.e., the story teller, but not prophets.

    How does the story teller escape from the point of his own story? How is he able to explain God without being tainted by his own experience, but no one else is?

    I appreciate posting my comments, I make sure to post every comment on my site. I enjoy having dissenting opinions with which to interact.

    • #3 by Stephen Robinson on November 28, 2010 - 10:46

      Once again John thank you for your comment and sorry for the delay in our reply it’s been very busy here. We are not missing your point at all John. The article has proven it’s point. It is an analogy and it is designed to make people think and it has done so. It proves that what it says is true, that we all can read into, interpret and come to draw our own conclusions from information, incomplete information or misinformation in some cases that we receive as you have done yourself. While I understand and respect what you are saying I also acknowledge your own comment ” I enjoy having dissenting opinions with which to react”. John it is an analogy from which you have drawn your own conclusions as others have, so it has done it’s work, it has made people think as it has done you, but we do not believe that it was designed or meant to be dissenting by the author in any way, it is purely what it is… An analogy… Thank you once again for your comments… Best wishes John from all at Mediums World.

  3. #4 by John Barron Jr. on November 27, 2010 - 01:20

    How do you know it’s an elephant?

    • #5 by Stephen Robinson on November 27, 2010 - 01:27

      Hi John… thanks for your comment and question… John it’s an analogy…

      • #6 by John Barron Jr. on November 27, 2010 - 01:44

        Yes, I know it is an analogy. Here’s my point. The illustration is generally used to show no one person or group has all the info on God. No one can lay claim to having it all right. However, the teller of the story seems to be in the unique position to in fact know about God, that He is really an elephant, and not a hose, or fan or wall. By making the claim that no one can know, is in fact a claim to know more than the graspers (other world religions). So the point of my asking “how do you know it’s an elephant” is really intended to get the teller of the story to understand that they are putting themselves in the position to know more than the graspers, which is the idea they are criticizing.

      • #7 by Stephen Robinson on November 27, 2010 - 02:07

        I understand John what you are saying however I think that the following extract explains ” If each of these blind men were a “prophet”, and the elephant were the “God concept”, each would found a different religion based on his own experience … Each would espouse a seemingly different God concept, which each would claim to be true”… were being the operative word and also as the article states “based on his own experience”. We do at Mediums World try to show and allow individuals points of view and both experiences and understanding. I hope that you can see this by the fact we are publishing your comments. Each of us including myself have our own opinion/image of God. As spiritualist ourselves we welcome and encompass all forms of religion and respect the opinions and beliefs of others. Once again John we thank you for your comments/input in response to the article.

  4. #8 by nigeil on November 26, 2010 - 22:09

    Ha, I remember having this situation explained to me by someone else. It really is quite interesting how perception changes so many things in the world.

    • #9 by Stephen Robinson on November 26, 2010 - 22:38

      Thank’s Nigeil for your comment… It’s true isn’t it… all down to how we interpret the information we have and what we choose to do with it… as you say perception changes so many things.

  1. The Elephant In The Room « Truth in Religion & Politics

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