Blind Men and an Elephant - variant
Lots of Blind People and a Big Jungle
I always liked the story of blind men and the elephant. Here is a variant that makes a little bit more sense to me:
There once was a king, completely blind. The king ruled over a kingdom of blind people. Near the kingdom was a large and mysterious jungle. The jungle spanned thousands of miles in every direction.
One day the blind king called a blind man to his courtyard. He asked this man to go explore the jungle, then report back what he understood about the jungle. While exploring a few feet into the jungle, the man came across several small animals.
The blind king then called a blind woman to his courtyard. He asked this woman to go to the jungle, then report back. The woman entered a small corner of the jungle thick with trees.
Later the blind king sent a third person to the jungle. At the edge of the jungle this person encountered a steep hill and a deep ravine.
A few days later the king assembled these three people to his courtyard. In front of a large audience the first person explained that the jungle is pleasant and with furry moving objects. The second person explained that the jungle is a maze of tall rigid objects. The third person explained that the jungle is full of impenetrable barriers.
When these three people realized the inconsistencies of their understanding, they began to debate then argue. This amused the king because he previously explored a tiny portion of the jungle and found it to be open and expansive and with many interesting sounds. Since he was the king, he knew in his heart the Truth of his understanding of the jungle.
During the debate, High Authorities of all jungle knowledge opened their sacred books. Thousands of years ago other blind men had also explored portions of the jungle and wrote these books. Many in the kingdom accepted these books as unquestionably True. The High Authorities, also blind, then began explaining to the explorers the error of their understanding. But they were careful not to contradict the king.
Eventually the king grew weary and dismissed everyone to return to their homes. The conversation inspired some people to investigate the jungle for themselves. But later they became busy with the necessities of life and moved on to other things. Meanwhile, the jungle continued to be what it is, and sometimes to change, and sometimes to remain the same, for millions and millions of years.
And the jungle was not a jungle, and that is what is happening. Because it has changed significantly since the king was a king, and now the king is something else. And it is a beautiful place. In some tiny regions it sometimes includes some furry moving objects and some tall rigid objects and some impenetrable barriers and some open expansive places and some things from the sacred books. And it includes the kingdom and other kingdoms. And whatever else it is, that is left for each of us.