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About an Elephant

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posted on May, 25 2017 @ 01:18 PM
About an Elephant

This ramble starts with that one teacher.

You know the one: a person completely different
from his or her peers, someone with something to
say that actually makes sense, a revelation that
sticks with you for the rest of your life.

It’s been so long, I don’t remember his name, but
I do remember the words (paraphrased):

He drew a small circle on the chalkboard, and said,
“This is you, and inside, everything you know.” He
ran a finger around the shape. “Outside is how much
you don’t know.”

The circle was erased, and a much larger one drawn
to replace it. “This is you as an adult. Look how
much more you know. And how much more you don’t

Yes, it was simplistic, but we were all seven or
eight years old, and it seemed like wisdom from the

Here is another similar bit I ran into growing up,
but never understood until much, much later:

A little knowledge is a dangerous thing.

This truism is especially pertinent in this current
age, where one can grasp at the edges of an idea, belief,
etc, instantly via the internet.

This brings us to the elephant...

The story originated in India (or so I’ve read) and
features a group of blind men attempting to describe
an elephant.

One feels the animal’s trunk, writhing and muscular,
and states, “An elephant is like a snake!”

Another feels the beast’s ear and clamors, “No, it’s
like a fan!”

This goes on, with each claiming to know the true nature
of the elephant.


As I stand over here by the animal’s leg, that word seems
a bit light weight. I mean... I can feel it, the rough
texture, how stout and heavy it is; I can barely get my
arms around it. The elephant is definitely like a tree.

You can holler all you want from where you are by the
tail, claiming it to be a rope, but I know better. If
you’re lucky, I’ll put up with your silly ideas, but don’t
think for one moment there isn’t a part of me that’s
screaming to re-educate you.

Of all the parts that comprise me, and all those I am
unable to directly control, that is the one I regret
showing the most.

Sure, there’s an elephant in the room that most would
like an explanation for, but even if it were revealed
in its totality, what would that change for the here
and now?

(Don’t answer that, we’re going to butt heads there too!)

I’m much older now, and more comfortable sharing a drink
or two without discussing elephants. We should hang out.
But I suggest we stay away from that weird dude spouting
that crap about elephants being like snakes.

What an idiot.

I know what I know.
I know what I don’t know.
I don’t know what I don’t know.


posted on May, 25 2017 @ 02:14 PM
a reply to: shlaw

Well written Shlaw. I've read the elephant story before as well. The chalk board story reminds me that we know what we know inside our circle but to know everything else would be challenging as the chalkboard of life has no boundaries just some sharp edges to encounter in our life quest.

posted on May, 25 2017 @ 05:15 PM
a reply to: shlaw

Sure, there’s an elephant in the room that most would
like an explanation for, but even if it were revealed
in its totality, what would that change for the here
and now?

It would change everything. How to treat the elephant, what to expect from the elephant, and what the true purpose of the elephant is. Constantly distracted in divining the elephant is a mind trap.


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