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The Blind and the Elephant illustration: a large elephant is joined by three blindfolded individuals; one reaching out to touch the elephant's trunk, one feels along the elephant's side and the other has hold of its tail. Each individual seeks to identify what's in front of them, but with the limited information they have, none of them guess correctly.

The blind and the elephant

It's an old, old Eastern story about some blind men who encounter an elephant. As the blind make sense of what each feels it's also a memorable illustration of how our own views are shaped by our subjective experience and, as so often, that we don't see the full picture. In various versions the men may argue over what it is, convinced they themselves must be right, or collaborate to identify the elephant together.

Most of our experience is somewhat like this. We rarely see the whole truth. When we stay humble and accept others' experience we give ourselves the chance to learn a little more.

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