The story of the blind men and an elephant originated in Indian subcontinent from where it has widely diffused. It has been used to illustrate a range of truths and fallacies. At various times it has provided insight into the relativism, opaqueness or inexpressible nature of truth, the behaviour of experts in fields where there is a deficit or inaccessibility of information, the need for communication, and respect for different perspectives.
It is a parable that has crossed between many religious traditions and is part of Jain, Buddhist, Sufi and Hindu lore. The tale is also well known in Europe. In the 19th century the poet John Godfrey Saxe created his own version as a poem. Since then, the story has been published in many books for adults and children, and interpreted in an ever-increasing variety of ways.
Other articles related to "blind men and an elephant, blind men, elephant, blind":
... In biology, the way the blind men hold onto different parts of the elephant has been seen as a good analogy for the Polyclonal B cell response ... under examination is the hide of an African elephant ... by Paul Galdone and another, Seven Blind Mice, by Ed Young (1992) ...
Famous quotes containing the words elephant, blind and/or men:
“I asked my mother for fifty cents
To see the elephant jump the fence.
He jumped so high he reached the sky,
And didnt get back till the Fourth of July.”
—Unknown. I Asked My Mother (l. 14)
“So may I, blind fortune leading me,
Miss that which one unworthier may attain,
And die with grieving.”
—William Shakespeare (15641616)
“The world men inhabit ... is rather bleak. It is a world full of doubt and confusion, where vulnerability must be hidden, not shared; where competition, not co-operation, is the order of the day; where men sacrifice the possibility of knowing their own children and sharing in their upbringing, for the sake of a job they may have chosen by chance, which may not suit them and which in many cases dominates their lives to the exclusion of much else.”
—Anna Ford (b. 1943)