The Blind Man and the Elephant
To learning much inclined,
Who went to see the Elephant~(Though all of them were blind),
That each by observation~Might satisfy his mind.
The First approached the Elephant,
And happening to fall
Against his broad and sturdy side, ~ At once began to bawl:
"God bless me! but the Elephant ~ Is very like a wall!"
The Second, feeling of the tusk,
Cried, "Ho! what have we here?
So very round and smooth and sharp? ~ To me 'tis mighty clear
This wonder of an Elephant ~ Is very like a spear!"
The Third approached the animal,
And happening to take
The squirming trunk within his hands, ~ Thus boldly up and spake:
"I see," quoth he, "the Elephant ~ Is very like a snake!"
The Fourth reached out an eager hand,
And felt about the knee.
"What most this wondrous beast is like ~ Is mighty plain," quoth her;
"'Tis clear enough the Elephant ~ Is very like a tree!"
The Fifth who chanced to touch the ear,
Said: "E'en the blindest man
Can tell what this resembles most; ~ Deny the fact who can,
This marvel of an Elephant ~ Is very like a fan!"
The Sixth no sooner had begun
About the beast to grope,
Than, seizing on the swinging tail ~ That fell within his scope,
"I see," quoth he, "the Elephant ~ Is very like a rope!
And so these men of Indostan
Disputed loud and long,
Each in his own opinion ~ Exceeding stiff and strong,
Though each was partly in the right ~ And all were in the wrong!
I prefer to think that each was right. Most things you try to understand are far more complex than an elephant - like people, for example, and standing back to view at a distance doesn't help.
Depending on the time of day, the situation, or the observer, the truth of a thing changes. Or, more accurately, a different truth might be revealed. Especially when standing close enough to touch.