I read the story of how six blind men from a certain place went to feel a tamed elephant just to satisfy their curiosity of knowing what the creature was like. According to the story, the first felt the broad, sturdy side of the elephant and shouted that the animal was just like a wall. The second touched its round, smooth, sharp tusk and concluded that the animal resembled a spear. The third handled its squirming trunk. ‘Indeed,’ he declared, ‘the elephant is very like a snake!’ The fourth man felt the knee and argued that the creature resembled a tree. The fifth, who touched its ear, concluded that the elephant was just like a fan. The last man seized the swinging tail and pointed out that the animal was just like a rope.

While on their way home at the end of their adventure, these men contended among one another on the shape of the elephant. Each man stuck to his observations strongly and would not agree with the others. The story concludes that though each one was right in describing the part of the animal he had felt, but none had the correct picture of the elephant.

In my own estimation, I imagined what would have happened if all of them listened to each other, agreed to each others assertions and combined all of their observations to get a perfect picture of what they had all felt and perceived. Maybe, the magnificence of the Elephant would have been revealed to them in its entirety. But no, each one of them was stubborn, they wouldn’t allow their pieces to be merged together with that of others, hence they never got the correct picture.

Life too, follows the same pattern. It’s not the same to each and every one of us but sticking to our own observations will rob us of the correct picture. We might be right with our own part of the whole piece but we need the other parts in the custody of others to get a correct picture. Listening to other people’s side of the story would cost us nothing more than just Faith and Patience. Faith in their abilities that they just might be right after all and Patience in processing their information before shoving it aside with stubborness, sentiment or prejudice. I feel having it at the back of our minds that we cannot see the picture when we’re in the frame is one sure way to start. We should let those who aren’t in the frame describe the picture first, maybe they are right or not, at least you have an idea of what it looks like which I believe is better than nothing.

In all, Life, when likened to a coin; it’s more than the eyes can see all at once. We need people to give us a picture of the other divide if we would describe the coin as a whole, successfully.

We need the eyes of others to picture life in its entirety.

In conclusion, acknowledging the inherent design of life -that our background, experiences and our DNA would always influence our weltanschauung – would help us to navigate through life easily without strife with ourselves and others. And that until we learn to merge the descriptions, experiences, observations, imaginations, assertions, hopes and beliefs of others with ours; life would always be a blurry picture if we use our description alone.

Atiba Festus

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