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.

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