In 1873, John Godfrey Saxe, an American poet, published a poem based on an ancient Indian fable about six blind men who were asked to describe an elephant by touch. One man said it was a wall, another a spear, another a snake, another a tree, another a fan, and the last man a rope. The final stanza of the poem concludes:
And so these men of Indostan
Disputed loud and long,
Each in his own opinion
Exceeding stiff and strong,
Though each was partly in the right,
And all were in the wrong!F74.1
The point of both the poem and the fable is to demonstrate the importance of seeing objects—as well as objectives—from an overarching view instead of just as component parts; to see the forest, ...