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The Elephant Pattern


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There's a famous metaphor about God and an elephant.

Or the elephant being a metaphorical idea of God.

A bunch of blind guys are walking and come across an elephant.

None of them have ever encountered an elephant before.

So they each kind of feel around a different part.

One guy grabs the tusk, another one the trunk, one guy the skin, another guy one of his feet.

And based only on what they can feel, they have a completely different experience.

Each one thinks his "thing" is unique.

This is usually used to show how different cultures experience God in different ways, but It's (He or She) is really the same thing.

But it makes an assumption about human perception.

Maybe the metaphor, or maybe our brains.

Most metaphors are incomplete.

They have to be, since they are oversimplified pictures of a much more complex process.

In NLP, this is described as the map not being the territory.

Metaphors are not that which is being described.

The are only helpful in giving a "big picture" idea.

Because just as there are people who would like us to all have the same, vague, "God," there are plenty who are happy with the "my God is better than your God" argument.

But what I want to point out is the metaphor itself.

Why didn't those guys spend a little bit more time feeling around the elephant?

If they spent a few minutes getting more data, feeling more areas, they would have had a much more complete idea of what they were encountering.

The metaphor is pretty accurate when it comes to human ideas and thinking.

We all have a "first glance" idea, and that first glance pretty much makes up our entire perception.

Then we get into arguments because our "first glance" idea is different from somebody else's "first glance" idea.

Way back in the day of Plato and Socrates, they had the idea of a dialectic.

Meaning two guys would go back and forth, exchanging ideas.

One guy would share his idea, and the other guy would look at that idea, and mix it into his idea, and they would go back and forth.

The process of this "argument" was to DEVELOP a more complete idea.

Very much like guys slowly moving around and reporting the ever changing structure of his part of the elephant.

Eventually, they'd figure it was some huge animal with a long nose and a couple of tusks, and some big floppy ears.

The "art" of developing more and more complex ideas is definitely a lost "art."

But you can easily develop it.

Which means you can take ideas from EVERYWHERE, and ALL TIME, and mix them together and see what you can come up with.

And develop a much more complex view of "reality" in the process.

Learn How:



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