Friday, September 5, 2014

In The Dark

When I was a counselor in California, among the many students who attended the school, was a young man who moved around the campus with a white cane.  The boy had no vision beyond one foot in front of him.  In essence, he was blind in spite of the very thick glasses he wore. 

Some of you might not realize that the high schools in California, for the most part, are built so that the classrooms open to the outdoors.  The “cafeteria” is often a grassy area in the middle of the campus.  Kids would sit and eat on the grass or at a picnic table or perhaps in inclement weather, lean on the walls on the sidewalk and under the overhang. 

This young man navigated the campus seemingly without effort.  Every now and then, students might move out of his way if they saw him coming in their direction or kindly explain an obstacle in his path like a broken concrete sidewalk.  They might gently take an elbow and help him around it and then off he’d go heading this way or that way, to or from his class.

I still picture him today as I write this.  A smile on his face.  Moving at not quite a quick walk.  Confident.  Friendly towards those he encountered.

He operated In The Dark.  His world and those whom he loved were In The Dark.  Yet, he lived, and studied, and worked, and listened to his music In The Dark.  He knew no other world, no other life.

It is a marvel to me, this young man, and I wonder whatever became of him.

There is a story, a parable I believe, that you might have heard once upon a time. 

In various versions of the tale, a group of blind men touch an elephant to learn what it is like. Each one feels a different part, but only one part, such as the side or the tusk or the leg or the trunk. They then compare notes and learn that they are in complete disagreement.  In some versions, they stop talking, start listening and collaborate to "see" the full elephant. When a sighted man walks by and sees the entire elephant all at once, they also learn they are blind. While one's subjective experience is true, it may not be the totality of truth.

I think that last line bears repeating . . .

While one’s subjective experience is true, it may not be the totality of truth.

In other words, we . . . each of us . . . might be In The Dark and not know it.  From our perspective, we see, we hear, we know whatever it is we see, hear and know.  But someone else might have an entirely different perspective.  It could even be that six or seven see, hear and know whatever it is they see, hear and know, and are in general agreement with what “it is” and still, they might not see, hear or know the totality.  At least, not without asking questions, seeking answers, and approaching the subject . . . a person . . . with an open mind. 

Instead, without asking questions, without seeking answers, and without the advantage of an open mind, an individual or group of individuals is fully content with what he or they “know” and proclaim it as “truth” when in fact, it is possible for him . . . for them . . . to be In The Dark.

So . . .

I ask you this simple question:  Where are you?  Are you content to move around and live In The Dark, or do you, with an open mind, ask questions and seek answers?  Are you willing to admit that perhaps you have a partiality of truth instead of the totality of truth?  On any given subject?  On any given day?  Something to think about . . .

Live Your Life, and Make A Difference!


  1. Hi Joseph - your post holds a lot of truths and, like you explained, we only get knowledge and information in bits and pieces. Truth is the complete picture.

    At the end, you asked, "Where Are You?" and it reminded me of a little story a neighbor told me years ago when her boys were small and they were attending mass one Sunday. The priest stood up to give his sermon and began with the question, "Where Are You?" And, while my neighbor and boys were sitting clear in the back, her little boy put up his hand and answered, "Here I am."

    When I think of that story, I smile -- another innocent truth -- "Wherever you go, there you are."

  2. Thank you for your thoughtful comment and wonderful story of the little boy. I appreciate it.


Thank you for your comment. I welcome your thought. Joe