The following tale is based on an ancient Buddhist story written over 2,500 years ago, “Blind men and the elephant.” Smile! It’s only a satire... or, is it?
First published in September 2018. | Updated in October 2020.
In the ancient Buddhist story, a group of blind monks, who had never come across an elephant before, learn and conceptualize what the elephant is like by touching it. Each blind man feels a different part of the elephant body, then describe the elephant based on their partial experience and their descriptions are in complete disagreement on what an elephant is.
Brexit. Six blind men and the elephant in the room.
A group of narrow-minded right-wing politicians heard that a strange animal, called Brexit, had been brought to Britain by like-minded anti-regulation eurosceptics and their wealthy media mogul friends, but none of them was actually aware of Brexit’s shape and form.
In front of a large audience of voters, and despite their lack of knowledge, the six short-sighted men decided to clarify once and for all what Brexit was so that everyone could get together to make a success of it. “Let’s inspect it by touch, of which we are highly capable.”
So, when Brexit entered the room, they started.
The first short-minded politician, whose hand landed on the trunk, said: “In my opinion, Brexit is a Norwegian snake.”
Another one, as blind-minded as the first, and whose hand had reached the ear, said: “No way, I think Brexit is more like a Swiss fan.”
The third right-wing politician, whose hand was upon the leg, said “You are both wrong. I am absolutely sure Brexit is a Canadian tree-trunk.”
Another, who felt the tail, described Brexit as “a Turkish type of rope.”
The very tall and posh man who had placed his hand on the side said “No, gentlemen. I believe that Brexit has no price. It must be a wall.”
Finally, the last politician, a big man with some crazy hairdo, felt the tusk and smiled. “I know… You are all totally wrong… Brexit is that which is hard with a sharp edge in the end, something like a spear,” he said, before adding one of his usual Latin remarks, “Illud est in manibus Dei.”
As they totally disagreed on what Brexit actually meant, the six blind-minded men started to suspect each other of not telling the truth and having some hidden agendas instead that would benefit their own careers.
Suddenly, as their leader entered the room, they stopped talking. She, who had actually had a glimpse of what Brexit was, had always fallen short of describing it in public by anything else than a “Brexit means Brexit,” which always ravished her right-wing peers until now, for it meant both everything and nothing at the same time.
She first asked them to stop arguing and start listening to each other. Collaboration only would enable them to see the full Brexit.
Then, as she started to describe Brexit in terms they could not recognise from their short experience touching it, the 6 short-minded men began to argue that she was wrong to describe Brexit so and that she obviously had never been one of them anyway, due to her lack of imagination and her inability to see Brexit for what it really could be.
As she left the room, she noticed that while the politicians were still trying to pierce the secret of Brexit, some eurosceptics had come to provide support for the embattled men.
One’s subjective and sometimes agenda-led experience limits one’s understanding and perception of what may represent the truth, which leads to projecting one’s partial experience as the entire truth.
It is therefore essential to collaborate and communicate with others to achieve a better understanding and respect different opinions to reach the whole truth together, rather than come up with many lies separately.🔷
J.N. PAQUET, Editor of PMP Magazine, Author & Journalist.