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Fixin' Healthcare

Saturday, October 29, 2005

Decoding the Elephant

Once upon a time a leader called a gathering of all the men in his land who were born blind. To each of them he presented a different part of an elephant. One felt the head, another the ears and so on to the tail. When the blind men had felt the elephant, he went to each man and asked him to describe an elephant.

The men who were presented the head said the elephant is like a boulder. Those presented the ears likened the elephant to a fan. The tusks made the elephant to be like a ploughshare, the trunk a fire hose, the body a barn, the foot and leg a pillar and the tail a rope.

Then they began to quarrel, each supporting their position until they came to blows over the matter. Thus it is that in ignorance the nature of people becomes quarrelsome and supports the one side of a thing they assume to know.

Unhealthy lifestyles, global warming and poverty are examples of problems that cannot be ignored but they are complex with many facets. Knowledge about the different facets generates a variety of conclusions. Each conclusion contains sufficient facts to survive challenge but not enough to create an effective and efficient solution for the problem. These segmented expert opinions compete without progress toward resolution.

The history of civilization is characterized by institutions that brought people together for common cause and created the mechanisms for survival. Long term survival and success of a culture is based upon core values and building character. Education is the common denominator and it has been important where learning occurs, as well as what is taught.

A culture and its values are defined by choices and priorities. Each person is an example, a teacher and a student. Doing the right things preceeds doing things right. The elephant comes before its parts. The goal is that everyone should achieve and maintain the best health possible.


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