Here's the summary statement and question I asked at the end of Chapter 21:

So is it the Homo sapiens warrior ethos and sense of belonging to a tribe that now overcomes our neuroreality? There was only one Tribe that was able to dominate the world with its tribal and warrior ethos, now this warrior ethos and sense of belonging to a tribe overcomes reason and logic. That tribal instinct then creates different tribes within the whole country. The two main political tribes we have now are the Far Right and the Far Left, fighting each other with hate and vitriol.  Where’s our neuroreality as a Nation to let this tribal polarization happen? 

The answer to where our neuroreality lies as a Nation can be answered by an old Indian folk tale – the blind men and the elephant.  And when I say Indian, I mean from India and the Indian subcontinent, shown below, not the native American Indian.

But why are the native people of North America called Indians, as in cowboys and Indians?  That is because when Christopher Columbus left Spain and sailed across the Atlantic ocean in 1492, and landed in what is now Hispaniola, an island in the Caribbean, he thought he had found a short cut to India and the Spice Islands. So when he met the natives on the island he called them Indians. When Columbus returned to Spain he told everyone he had discovered a short cut to India and the Spice Islands and that he had spoken with Indians.  And from that point onward, the term Indian stuck in European language, even after additional voyages and particularly one by Amerigo Vespucci in 1501-1502, when Vespucci demonstrated that Brazil and the West Indies were not India and the Spice Islands but a separate continent which was then described as the "New World".  Because Vespucci drew this conclusion, the “New World” was then called the Americas, named after him.  What if his last name stuck instead, we’d be living now in the United States of Vespuccia, it just doesn’t sound as good as the United States of America. But we still have native American Indians.

So, back to the folk tale from India and the Indian subcontinent, the blind men and the elephant.

Once upon a time, there lived six blind men in a village. One day the villagers told them, “Hey, there is an elephant in the village today. ”They had no idea what an elephant was. They decided, “Even though we would not be able to see it, let us go and feel it anyway.” All of them went where the elephant was. Every one of them touched the elephant. “Hey, the elephant is a pillar,” said the first man who touched his leg. “Oh, no! it is like a rope,” said the second man who touched the tail. “Oh, no! it is like a huge snake,” said the third man who touched the trunk of the elephant. “It is like a big hand fan” said the fourth man who touched the ear of the elephant. “It is like a huge wall,” said the fifth man who touched the belly of the elephant. “It is like a solid pipe,” Said the sixth man who touched the tusk of the elephant. They began to argue about the elephant and every one of them insisted that he was right. It looked like they were getting agitated. A wise man was passing by and he saw this. He stopped and asked them, “What is the matter?” They said, “We cannot agree to what the elephant is like.” Each one of them told what he thought the elephant was like. The wise man calmly explained to them, “All of you are right. The reason every one of you is telling it differently because each one of you touched a different part of the elephant. So, actually the elephant has all those features that you all said.”

“Oh!” the blind men said. There was no more fight. Then one of them said, hey, wait a minute, how do we know that is true?  Let’s all rotate around the elephant and feel all those different parts.  So they did, after which it became clear to them that the wise man was right.

Here’s an updated version of this story as it might apply to democratic and republican politics in the late 20th century at the end of the industrial revolution here in the United States:

Once upon a time, there lived two blind men in a village. One day the villagers told them, “Hey, there is an elephant in the village today.” They had no idea what an elephant was. They decided, “Even though we would not be able to see it, let us go and feel it anyway.” So they went where the elephant was.

The first man touched the trunk and the ears and said, “This elephant is really flexible, it’s like a snake, or a huge leaf.”  The second man touched the tusks and the legs.  He said, “No, it’s very hard, like a soild pipe, it’s not flexible, and very thick and strong.

They began to argue about the elephant and each insisted that he was right. They started screaming at each other, and it looked like they might get into a fight. A wise man was passing by and he saw this. He stopped and asked them, “What is the matter?” They said, “We cannot agree to what the elephant is like.” Each one told him what they thought the elephant was like. The wise man calmly explained to them, “You are both right. The reason you are arguing is because each one of you touched different parts of the elephant. So, actually the elephant has all those features that you all said.”

Oh!” they said, and they stopped fighting. Then one said, hey, wait a minute, how do we know that is true?  He turned to his friend and said, “Hey, I’ll show you mine if you show me yours.” So the first man showed the second the trunk and ears, then the second showed the first the tusk and legs, and they both said, “Yes, the wise man was right.”

Now here’s the modern version of this story as it applies to politics right now at the beginning of the 21st century in the digital revolution and the information age in the United States, particularly in light of mainstream and social media (ie wisemen) and the far and utlra Left vs the far and alt Right:

Once upon a time, there lived two blind men in a village. One day the villagers told them, “Hey, there is an elephant in the village today.” They had no idea what an elephant was. They decided, “Even though we would not be able to see it, let us go and feel it anyway.” So they went where the elephant was.

The first man touched the trunk and the ears and said, “This elephant is really flexible, it’s like a snake, or a huge leaf.”  The second man touched the tusks and the legs.  He said, “No, it’s long and hard, like a solid pipe, it’s not flexible, and very thick and strong.

They began to argue about the elephant and each insisted that he was right. They started screaming at each other, and it looked like they might get into a fight. A wise man was passing by and he saw this. He stopped and asked them, “What is the matter?” They said, “We cannot agree to what the elephant is like.” Each one told him what they thought the elephant was like. The wise man said, ah, I see what you are saying, I can see that the elephant has two long and hard pipes sticking straight up from its head and a bunch of smaller leaves all along the top of its back.  The first man said to the second, “See, I told you, the elephant is really flexible like a leaf. The second said, “No, like I said, it’s like long solid pipes, and it’s not flexible.”  As they continued arguing with each other and broke into fisticuffs.  

Then the second wise man set up the ladder so the blind men could go up and touch the top of the elephant.  The first went up and said, “All I feel is the skin of the elephant, there are no leaves up here!”

The second went up and said, “You’re right, all I feel is the skin of the elephant, there are no long soild pipes up here!”  The second wise man said, “You see then, in your initial observation, before the first wise man, you were both right.”

Then both blind men turned and screamed at the first “wise man”, “Hey, whataya think you’re doing, you purposely lied to us!”  The first wise man said, “No, no, no, you missed touching the solid pipes and leaves on the top!  I can see them, they’re right there. You missed them……” The first “wise man” kept screaming for his case.

Then the two blind men turned to the second wise man and said, “Hey, we appreciate your help, now we understand what an elephant is, and we understand that there are “wise men” who pitch alternative truths that in actual reality are completely false. So we’d like to buy you a beer in thanks.” The second wise man said, “Certainly, as long as I can buy each of you one.” “Sound goods said the other blind man, but since there are two of us and one of you, we’ll have to buy the third!” “It’s a deal,” said the wise man. And as they walked over to the local pub, the screaming of the first “wise man” became fainter and fainter until it was heard no more.

So the question is: How's your neuroreality?

A second wise man was passing by and he saw this. He stopped the fight and asked them, “What is the matter?” They said, “We cannot agree to what the elephant is like.” Each one told him what they thought the elephant was like. The second wise man looked at the first wise man, and said, wait one minute, I think we may be able to help you settle this argument. The second wise man left and came back with a ladder. He said to the blind men, “First, you show him yours and then he’ll show you his.” So the first blind man showed the second the trunk and ears, then the second blind man showed the first the tusk and legs.

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Question Your Perception