Blind Men and an Elephant

Sunday, December 9, 2017—8:45 pm—25˚F (-3˚C)—Cold, it snowed this morning

You must know some version of the parable of the blind men and the elephant. In case you have not:

A group of blind men, who have never come across an elephant before, are asked to conceptualize by touching an elephant. Each man feels a different part of the elephant: the body or leg or tusk or trunk. Then they each describe what they believe an elephant is based on their experience. Each man’s description is drastically different and together the blind men are in complete disagreement on what an elephant is. They each are right about their own experience but wrong about the whole. The moral of the parable is that it is difficult to project ‘the whole truth’ when you only know partial truths.

I sometimes mention this parable to friends and relatives when they ask me to describe my wife’s behavior. I tell them when they spend a few hours with us they see a partial picture of our lives. Only I, as a 24/7 care partner, have a total picture of the situation.

When my brother and his wife visited us last year, they stayed with us for five weeks. In that time they were able to see more than just a partial picture. They got to understand all aspects of our life much better.