Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Describing an elephant

Once upon a time, there lived six blind men in a village. One day the villagers told them, "Hey, there is an elephant in the village today."
 They had no idea what an elephant was. They decided, "Even though we would not be able to see it, let us go and feel it anyway." All of them went where the elephant was. Everyone of them touched the elephant
"Hey, the elephant is a pillar," said the first man who touched his leg.
"Oh, no! it is like a rope," said the second man who touched the tail.
"Oh, no! it is like a thick branch of a tree," said the third man who touched the trunk of the elephant.
"It is like a big hand fan" said the fourth man who touched the ear of the elephant.
"It is like a huge wall," said the fifth man who touched the belly of the elephant.
"It is like a solid pipe," Said the sixth man who touched the tusk of the elephant. 
They began to argue about the elephant and everyone of them insisted that he was right. A wise man was passing by and he saw this. He stopped and asked them, "What is the matter?" They said, "We cannot agree to what the elephant is like." Each one of them told what he thought the elephant was like. 
The wise man calmly explained to them, "All of you are right. The reason every one of you is telling it differently because each one of you touched the different part of the elephant. So, actually the elephant has all those features."

I am reminded very much of this story when it comes to trying to describe playing RPG's solo. Explaining the process is very much like the blind men trying to describe the elephant. Each of us are feeling a different part of it.

Taking something ephemeral, an intuitive process, and trying to describe it comes out a bit like their description of the elephant I'm afraid. Trying to take something that is a bit of a subjective truth, and render it as on objective truth, can be difficult.

Apropos of nothing, just something I've been thinking about. :)

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