As a student at the University of Texas I often gazed at the verse from John 8:32 that is carved into the front wall of the tower:

“Ye shall know the truth and the truth shall make you free.”

I figured that getting a good education would help me get to the truth.  And besides, I knew what the truth was, right?   But the older I got the more confused I became about exactly what was true.  One of my favorite poems gives a clue on getting to the truth:

 The Blind Men and the Elephant
John Godfrey Saxe (1816-1887)

It was six men of Indostan
To learning much inclined,
Who went to see the Elephant
(Though all of them were blind),
That each by observation
Might satisfy his mind.

The First approached the Elephant,
And happening to fall
Against his broad and sturdy side,
At once began to bawl:
“God bless me! but the Elephant
Is very like a WALL!”

The Second, feeling of the tusk,
Cried, “Ho, what have we here,
So very round and smooth and sharp?
To me ’tis mighty clear
This wonder of an Elephant
Is very like a SPEAR!”

The Third approached the animal,
And happening to take
The squirming trunk within his hands,
Thus boldly up and spake:
“I see,” quoth he, “the Elephant
Is very like a SNAKE!”

The Fourth reached out an eager hand,
And felt about the knee
“What most this wondrous beast is like
Is mighty plain,” quoth he:
“‘Tis clear enough the Elephant
Is very like a TREE!”

The Fifth, who chanced to touch the ear,
Said: “E’en the blindest man
Can tell what this resembles most;
Deny the fact who can,
This marvel of an Elephant
Is very like a FAN!”

The Sixth no sooner had begun
About the beast to grope,
Than seizing on the swinging tail
That fell within his scope,
“I see,” quoth he, “the Elephant
Is very like a ROPE!”

And so these men of Indostan
Disputed loud and long,
Each in his own opinion
Exceeding stiff and strong,
Though each was partly in the right,
And all were in the wrong!

The only certainty is that finding the truth takes thought and time.  Unfortunately, with today’s society moving at warped speed, we increasingly rely on soundbites from social media, journalists, co-workers, friends, and neighbors in order to judge what is true.

We owe it to ourselves and those around us to ensure that we know all the parts of the elephant before we make important decisions.