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The first person explored one of the elephant’s legs. “This
creature,” she said, “is like a strong tree.”
The second person was led to the elephant’s tail. “No,” he
said, “it is like thick rope.”
The third person was investigating the elephant’s ear.
“You’re both wrong,” he said. “It’s like a giant palm leaf.”
“No, no, no,” said the fourth person, who was engaged with
the elephant’s trunk. “It is like a thick snake.”
The fifth, who’d been led to the elephant’s body, simply
laughed to herself. “How can they all be so wrong?” she thought. “This thing is
like a huge boulder.”
The five argued with each other for some time—all certain
that they were accurately describing what they were experiencing; none able to
change the mind of even one of the others. At last they took off their
blindfolds and discovered that each was right, and each was wrong. It was only
when they combined their descriptions that they began to understand the
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Last updated on Saturday, October 29, 2011.
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