Seven Men and an Elephant


Prof. Dietrich Fischer – TRANSCEND Media Service

Seven men were in a dark room touching an elephant. One touched his leg and said, “An elephant is like a tree trunk.”

Another touched his belly and said, “No, an elephant is like a wall.”

Another touched his trunk and said, “No, an elephant is like a snake.”

Another touched his ear and said, “No an elephant is like a cabbage leaf.”

Another touched his tusk and said, “No, an elephant is like a branch.”

Another held his tail and said, “No, an elephant is like a paint brush.”

Still another sat on top and said, “No, an elephant is like a mountain.”

Then someone came in and switched the light on.

All seven closed their eyes and shouted, “That fool should leave at once!”

We all possess a piece of the truth, but nobody possesses the whole and only truth. Many cling to their narrow views and refuse to see a larger truth. Through dialogue, we can all learn from one another.


Dietrich Fischer (1941-2015) from Münsingen, Switzerland, got a Licentiate in Mathematics from the University of Bern 1968 and his Ph.D. in Computer Science from New York University 1976. 1986-88 he was a MacArthur Fellow in International Peace and Security at Princeton University. He has taught mathematics, computer science, economics and peace studies at various universities and been a consultant to the United Nations. He was co-founder, with Johan Galtung, of the TRANSCEND Network for Peace, Development and Environment in 1993.

Excerpted from Dietrich Fischer’s Stories to Inspire You – TRANSCEND University Press-TUP.


This article originally appeared on Transcend Media Service (TMS) on 4 Dec 2017.

Anticopyright: Editorials and articles originated on TMS may be freely reprinted, disseminated, translated and used as background material, provided an acknowledgement and link to the source, TMS: Seven Men and an Elephant, is included. Thank you.

If you enjoyed this article, please consider a donation to TMS and click here.

Share or download this article:

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a CC BY-NC 4.0 License.

There are no comments so far.

Join the discussion!

We welcome debate and dissent, but personal — ad hominem — attacks (on authors, other users or any individual), abuse and defamatory language will not be tolerated. Nor will we tolerate attempts to deliberately disrupt discussions. We aim to maintain an inviting space to focus on intelligent interactions and debates.

 (please enter the four letters and numbers you see above, no spaces)