Tuesday, May 08, 2007

The blind man and the elephant

I like the analogy. I really do.

Hsu Huang-hsiung, a climatologist at the National Taiwan University, writes:
The upcoming arrival of former US vice president Al Gore is certain to set off a new wave of discussion about global warming in Taiwan. The topic is like an elephant with a fever being cared for by a group of blind people.

Some say the elephant doesn't have a fever and that only the room temperature has increased, while some touch the elephant's tusks and say the temperature hasn't risen at all. Global warming is a multi-faceted issue. Each person has his own observations and attitude, and sometimes it's like the famous Indian legend of the blind men and the elephant -- each man touches the elephant and all three come to different conclusions as to what it is.
Huang-hsiung, perhaps through the courteousness so often present in the Orient, chooses not to mention the forth man.

The forth man, he’s wearing his big ‘ol Stetson, “Yee-hawing!!” away, while he tries to amputate the other recalcitrant tusk with an oxy-acetylene torch, not overly concerned that the poor old elephant has caught fire in the process.

The irony is: he’s not even blind. He knows what he’s doing. He knows the consequences of his actions, but that smooth, white, lustrous ivory; carve it a little, and it’ll make a fine handle for his blade. He believes, in his deepest, deepest heart, that one charred elephant is worth it.