Blind Men and the Elephant

A group of blind people approach a strange animal, called an elephant. None of them are aware of its shape and form. So they decide to understand it by touch. The first person, whose hand touches the trunk, says “This creature is like a thick snake”. For the second person, whose hand finds an ear, it seems like a type of fan. The third person, whose hand is on a leg, says the elephant is a pillar like a tree-trunk. The fourth blind man who places his hand on the side says, “an elephant is a wall”. The fifth, who feels its tail, describes it as a rope. The last touches its tusk, stating the elephant is something that is hard and smooth – like a spear.


This is an excerpt from our book, The Great Mental Models: General Thinking Concepts. Learn more about the book and how to get it here.