It’s an allegory. Hold on to your hat.
A long, long time ago in a land far away, a wise man asked five people, who couldn’t come to an agreement on a matter, to humour him and put on blindfolds. He led them into a room where there was an elephant and asked them to touch it. After a little while, he asked them to tell him what they thought they had touched.
One who touched the tusk said he’d felt a spear. The one who touched the leg said it was some kind of tree. Another who touched the side said she believed she’d felt a wall. One thought the tail was a rope, one that the ears were paper scrolls and the last felt strongly that the trunk was a snake.
They argued long and hard about the nature of what they’d experienced until they were asked to remove the blindfolds. An elephant? No one was completely right. No one was entirely wrong. Everyone had a piece of the puzzle, but no one was listening to anyone else. No one was listening.
An elephant is a new idea, not initially fully comprehensible to anyone. We all have pieces, but we’re all blind to what it will be. By listening, we gather together its sum parts: the spear/tusk, wall/side, snake/trunk, rope/tail, paper/ears, tree/leg and assemble something that looks like an elephant in shape. Through collaboration and sharing, we remove our blindfolds and see the thing we never could have imagined when we began: the elephant.
Plus elephants are cool.