Followers of some of the oldest religions on this planet have told variations of this parable. It goes something like this:

Six persons are blindfolded and led into a large room that has, without their knowledge, an elephant. Each one is then asked to describe a different part of the animal by what they can feel. One puts his hands around a leg and proclaims that it is a support column for a balcony. Another feels the tail and is sure the object is a rope. After touching the elephant’s trunk someone else is sure that it is the limb of a tree. A fourth person feels its ear and is positive the thing in question is a hand fan. Hands on the beast’s belly feel like a ceiling to another. And finally, the person who grabs ...

Get Visual Ethics now with O’Reilly online learning.

O’Reilly members experience live online training, plus books, videos, and digital content from 200+ publishers.