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Five men who had been born blind listened to the stories told by travelers who came their way. After hearing about strange creatures called elephants, they argued amongst themselves. Looking to resolve their differences, the men went to the palace to learn the truth about elephants.

Unable to see, they each reached out and touched the elephant 

The first blind man touched the elephant’s trunk. He said elephants are enormous snakes. The second disagreed, saying elephants are huge spears. The third insisted elephants are giant leaves, the fourth said elephants are very big cows, and the fifth said elephants are nothing more than pieces of old rope.

“How can each of you be so certain you are right?” asked the wise Rajah who had been watching and listening

Elephants are very large animals, he said, and each of you drew his conclusion from touching only one part of it. Perhaps if you put all the pieces of the puzzle together, you will see the truth.

Philosopers say the story illustrates the “blindness” of having only one experience, only one point of view

Opthamologists say it sounds like retinitis pigmentosa, what the rest of us call tunnel vision, the condition where people see only what’s right in front of them. Today, having tunnel vision is an American English idiom used to describe someone who is extremely narrow-minded.

Businesspeople say the story explains why people with a single point of view never see the big picture. Scientists say it’s an excellent example of why you can’t trust research that has a too-small sample. Everyone agrees the story explains why people who have a narrow perspective believe their part of it is the only one that’s important – and how everyone who disagrees with them is wrong.

Those who refuse to take in account the many things they don’t see become narrow-minded people with extremely prejudiced outlooks

Don’t be one of them.

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