A wise healer came among a community of the blind. She taught the people what they needed to do to cure their own blindness. The people whom she taught were so in awe of her wisdom and compassion that they wanted to know more about who she was. Being blind, they used their hands to feel her to understand her features. Each person touched a different part of her. Only being able to become acquainted with a small part of the healer, they each concluded different things about her nature and traits. Each person was so self-assured about his or her limited perception of the healer, though, that each presumed to understand the full truth about her.
The healer was only with the people a short time. Almost as soon as she left, the people began arguing about who and what she was. News of her visit, as well as news of the disagreements about her nature, passed quickly through the community. Each person who had encountered her in person told a different story about her visit and gave a different interpretation of her nature. As the stories spread, the details were slightly changed with each retelling, and each person formed an opinion about the healer based on which story they had first heard or based on which story made them feel best. None of them acknowledged her imperfections—they could not idolize an imperfect being.
The people began to divide into groups based on which opinions about the healer they believed. There was great disagreement between the different groups, and the people spent much time debating the minute details of all aspects of the healer’s superficial nature. Almost all of their opinions were either wrong or misleading because they were taken out of context. The people were so obsessed with validating their faulty perceptions and opinions about the healer that they ended up ignoring her teachings about how to heal their blindness. They lived out their lives in unnecessary darkness, clinging to false, misleading, trivial, and petty beliefs about the healer, rather than applying her words to heal themselves.