The Blind Men and the Elephant

The story goes like this:  The six blind men, having heard that there was an elephant outside the city gates, and never having encountered one, were very curious to discover just what an elephant was like.

The first blind man, who had walked up to the elephant’s leg, said “This elephant, it is like a tree!”  The second blind man was feeling the elephant’s side, and said, “No, it is like a wall!”  The third blind man found himself holding the elephant’s tail, and said, “This is a rope I am holding…the elephant is like a rope!”  The fourth blind man had his hands around the elephant’s trunk, feeling the movement and the muscle, and he said, “You’re wrong, the elephant is like a huge serpent!”  The fifth blind man had the elephant’s great ear in his hand, and stoutly insisted that the elephant was like a leaf, only bigger…much bigger.  The sixth man, having run into the elephant’s tusk, said, “It is a great, curved stick, this elephant!”

They started arguing about what an elephant was, each so sure he was right….The elephant, bored with all this, moved silently away….

It’s a classic story, often told to describe how difficult it is to see the whole of something when all one has blindly encountered is a part of it…or to illustrate how the Truth is big, and our perceptions are small….

30 years ago, when I was writing the Final Product for my MA degree, I used the story as an introduction to my chapter on Personality Theory.  I’d read a number of theories, and it was clear to me that what we had, in regard to anyone’s theory, was the Blind Men and the Elephant.  Whatever theory I looked at was only a part, maybe even a small part of who we are, and to think we “knew” anything was a mistake.  Looking at the story now, I see a few more interpretations….like the part where competition and ego produce conflict, where collaboration and cooperation might  produce knowledge; or the part where once you are arguing about the Truth, it silently leaves the scene…

But here’s one I didn’t see, until the other day:  The elephant, as object in a 3D world, doesn’t change.  What changes in the story is the individual who perceives him.   What each individual perceives is different from what another individual perceives.... it’s basically a 3D joke.  But if we look at this from a quantum perspective, in which there is a shared field between the blind men and the elephant, what happens when the elephant is seen in six different (though partial) ways?  How is the elephant affected?

I’m thinking it’s likely that the elephant himself is affected by the changes in perception.  So when the blind man holding his tail says the elephant is like a rope, does the elephant feel more rope-like?  Or maybe it’s that the subtle body of the elephant becomes more rope-like in that moment…..If the way to communicate with animals is through visualized pictures…and the blind man is sending the image of a rope…what does the elephant get?  (Either irritated, or bored, because no matter how you slice it, that elephant is not really seen, not seen in any wholeness.

When someone looks at you with love, don’t you feel different than when someone regards you with indifference, or dislike, or doesn’t see you at all?  If I look at someone, something, from 5D, a neutral space, I’m “making space” or using the neutral space, to allow for something different to appear.  My expectation is that something different will appear, different than what has manifested so far.  It will be useful, or helpful, and somehow more whole….And in the “seeing” of it, I will also feel more whole….

What if the blind men were seeing in 5D, through the heart?  They might have been, since they were blind, not able to physically see, and never having encountered an elephant, not able to use memory…..If you see an elephant as a rope, a wall, a tree trunk….from the heart….what happens to the elephant?

Sarah French’s brilliant clown workshop, focused on improvisational mime….There were props, neutral props, left on the stage for us to encounter, and make of them what we could imagine them to be….A length of fabric could be a wrap or a river, a bowl could be a hat or a hole or a single boob.  It was an exercise in letting go of what we ordinarily knew to bring the audience into our new sense of reality so they could enjoy it too…There was no essential change in the props, they were what they were.  But something changed, in the player, and in the audience….What was that?  

What happens when you look at an elephant and see a rope, a wall, a tree trunk, a leaf? 

What about the elephant?