Gather ’round my children, ’cause Doc Ravencraft is gonna tell you how it is. Everyone gonna look at you through their own shoes. You don’t understand? Then let me tell you about the blind men and the elephant. (If you think you already know all about that then you can skip on by, ’cause you ain’t gonna learn from it nohow.)
Once upon a time there was a new wonder to behold. An elephant had been brought from a far away land, a gigantic beast unlike any had beheld before. People were going to come from miles around to see it, but before they could it was important that it be studied so that people could be told what they were going to experience.
By great fortune, there were five wise philosophers who had made a great study of all things. They had the singular peculiarity in that all of them were completely blind, but everyone said that this gave them advantages in their other senses and that as a group they always managed to find the truths that others could not discover . Once people knew what the truth was supposed to be it was easier for them to see it for themselves.
The great day came. The philosophers arrived and set about their work as the scribes stood by to record their findings. Each of them remarked immediately upon the odor of the beast and noted that it was clearly a creature born to the grasses. They heard the trumpeting sound of its call and perceived that it must be a majestic thing indeed. Then they all stepped closer, eager to lay their hands upon it.
The first of them ended up toward the front of the elephant and was nearly knocked down by the swinging trunk. Immediately he could perceive the snake-like quality, and what an enormous snake it must be! He could feel the tiny mouth of the creature, with two throats and no teeth, indicating that it must feed on the tiniest of leaves. Most curious!
The second one found himself next to one of the mighty legs, so large he could barely wrap his arms around it. It was sturdy and muscular like gigantic, warm-blooded tree, with a leathery skin. What a wonder! Surely this was not an herbivore after all, but a strange bird-catching creature. It must move very slowly and spend great lengths of time standing still and quiet, waiting for it’s prey to perch upon it, at which time it would gobble it up, much like a Venus Fly Trap.
The third found himself at the tail and was immediately struck by its tininess. Why, it was no bigger around than a piece of rope! What a sound it had made. This must be a creature easily preyed upon by others which has developed this amazing voice to scare away its predators by appearing much more powerful than it really was. What a delightful artifice!
The fourth found himself at the tusk and was amazed at the skinless exterior and spikiness of the creature. How amazingly armored and well protected this creature must be. Clearly, this creature was the matured relative to the armadillo and other similar animals. What an amazing sound these things must make as the clatter across the landscape like an army of tanks.
The last philosopher found himself draped by the beast’s ears which flopped about him as he felt his way. He had never encountered anything like this! It felt like some sort of wing, but so large! How magnificent this creature must look as it sailed above the earth, likely gliding down from mountain tops, bellowing its frightful call. It must be terrifying to man and beast.
Each of the scribes took down these observations and attempted to combine them into an explanation that could be shared with the masses, but as they tried to fit them all together there was so much argument amongst the philosophers that there could be no solution. It was finally decided that it was best if elephant was simply sent back from whence it came. Clearly if such learned minds could not explain the elephant then it would be too much for anyone else to comprehend.
So, here is the honest truth, my brothers and sisters. No matter who you are, no matter what you do, everyone will see you through their own ways. They will translate everything you say through their own way of speaking. They will compare everything you do to their own actions. They will never and can never see you for who you really are. They will try! Oh, how they will try! But they will always be limited to what they know to be true.
You cannot fault these people for trying to share what they believe they know. They have been told in the past that they see things that others can’t and there is no reason for them to believe that it would be otherwise today. They may even feel that they are helping you to see yourself more clearly and helping you to find yourself because you simply cannot see.
The fact of the matter is that no one can see or know all about you. No one has all of the information. No one truly knows what it is like to walk in your shoes… They are always thinking about their own shoes.
You cannot walk the path that someone else has laid out for you, unless you can see your own way. You cannot be who you are in comparison to someone else because you are a unique combination of everything about you. As long as you wait for someone to tell you who you are, you will be lost. As long as you let others decide how you must be perceived, you will remain an enigma. You are the elephant, majestic and strong. You are free to roam the plains where even the lion must give way to you. You are not defined by any one part of you and the sum of your parts goes beyond what anyone can imagine.
Defy your definitions, my brothers and sisters. Now run off and play. Ol’ Doc needs some rest.