Parable: The Blind Men and The Elephant

A group of blind men were brought to inspect an elephant, and each man touched a different part of the elephant.


The first man, who ran his hands along the elephant’s trunk, said “the elephant is like a thick snake.”


The second man, who felt the ear, said the “No, the elephant resembles a big fan.”


The third man, who touched a leg, said “No, the elephant is like a pillar.”


The fourth man, who patted the elephant’s side, said “The elephant is clearly like a wall.”


The fifth man, who touched a tusk, said “I’m certain the elephant is like a spear.”


The last man, who felt the elephant’s tail, said “You’re all wrong. The elephant is just like a rope.”


Unable to come to an agreement, the men continued to argue and defend themselves, eventually even coming to physical blows.


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Commentary:

This parable emphasizes the importance of humility, open-mindedness, and perception. So often, we believe our limited views to be the whole truth. Compounding the problem, we become attached to our ideas and want to defend them. As a result, we arrogantly reject the views of others.


A person once told me that he has many ideas in his head, and he wants others to criticize them so that he can make sure only the best ideas stay in his head. If he disagrees with others’ ideas, he remains respectful. We can all be happier and build our characters by following his example.

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