Blind in the Land of the Elephant

Everybody has opinions: I have them, you have them. And we are all told from the moment we open our eyes, that everyone is entitled to his or her opinion. Well, that’s horsepuckey, of course. We are not entitled to our opinions; we are entitled to our informed opinions. Without research, without background, without understanding, it’s nothing.

– Harlan Ellison
An adorable Meiji-era Netsuke of the famous “Blind Men and the Elephant” parable, currently at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York

As the Nicola Sturgeon period of Scotland’s history come to a close, I look to the future with terror and hope. There’s little point in me talking about the SNP leadership race because too many people simply don’t know the full story. Even the fraction I know is enough for me to be at odds with a huge section of the population. Any comments I could make would be incomplete because the truth – the whole truth – is being kept from the public sphere. For the majority of folk, it’s like the Elephant and the Blind Men, an ancient Indian parable used as an allegory for the relationship of experience to truth. Broadly speaking: several blind individuals are introduced to an elephant, and are tasked to describe it using their hands. The problem, of course, is each individual only feels a small part of the elephant, & this causes… problems.


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