There is an old story about several blind men who encountered an elephant. This story plays an important role in several religions around the Indian subcontinent, as explained in great detail in Wikipedia.
Here Is My Version:
“Once upon a time, an aide brought an elephant into a home for the blind in India where a team of scholars was writing the first blind dictionary. The elephant was soon surrounded by a number of blind men. The first man, after feeling the elephant’s leg, declared that an elephant is like a pillar, and then proceeded to jot down his notes. The second man, holding the tail, announced that an elephant was like a rope before he recorded his findings. The scholar next to the elephant’s ear decided that this creature was like a winnowing basket, while another by the trunk couldn’t quite figure out whether he was dealing with a tree branch or a water spout. He took careful notes. Other men found the belly to be a wall or a granary, and the tusk to be either a solid pipe or a plowshare. The head resembled a pot, the back a throne, and lastly, the tip of the tail evoked a brush.
While reviewing their notes, a discussion broke out among the scholars about their differing individual findings. Since each of the men was certain that his own observations were correct, an argument developed, which grew heated, and before long the team was embroiled in a full brawl. Only one man survived the scuffle. He proceeded with the project and as a result it was his (limited) definition of an elephant that ultimately went into the blind dictionary, and so it remained for many, many years to follow. While this man was finishing his work, the elephant was neglected, and eventually became hungry, and then agitated, and then wound up trampling the man to death as it made it’s escape.”
The Rest of the Story*
The aide returned a couple days later to find everyone dead and no elephant, so he ran to get the police and then returned home. After their investigation of the scene, the police concluded that the elephant was the principal suspect in all of the killings and so, using the last scholar’s description, they put out a bulletin for it’s capture. When they canvassed the neighborhood, one gentleman asked if this was the same pink elephantD that had been haunting him for years. After reviewing the notes of the victims and other evidence at the scene, they found nothing that would rule out that possibility. After an exhaustive search, however, the perpetrating pink pillar was never found and the case was eventually closed.
There have been several morals derived from the earlier versions of this story. I feel that it reveals important human foibles and I may be referring to this story in future discussions and possibly coming to my own conclusions.