Mon | Dec 5, 2016

The blind man and the forest

Published:Sunday | October 5, 2014 | 12:00 AM

Karl Salmon, Contributor

It was upon a time, once, that I stumbled upon an unknown path while in search of my way home. There before me was the entrance to a forest.

Confused and caught in two minds whether to trod this path or remain on familiar territory, a blind man appeared and offered to assist me in navigating this route he promised to be a fulfilling journey. The blind man boasted that he knew this path very well as he had led many lost souls through this journey in finding their sanctuary.

He seemed confident and convincing as he recounted birds singing, the smell of flourishing flora and the sounds of prancing fauna. He assured me that throughout this path, I would not stumble as there along the way would be a luminescent beacon to guide me should I falter. He whetted my appetite by promising, at the end of my journey, the loving reception of a welcoming party bearing baskets overflowing with various goodies. He, however, forewarned that if I choose not to take this path, I would never find my way home; that any other route taken would await me cunning preying serpents in various forms lurking in sewers and nestled in trees, waiting to pounce and overpower me.

So, out of fear of the consequence of not taking this path and the promise of a better alternative, I held the blind man's hand and off we strolled through this meandering trail of wonderful.The passage was murky and obscure, but anticipating the desire to taste the sweet nectar of his deliverance, onward I relented. Throughout what seemed like an endless journey, the blind man stopped many times to evaluate his sense of direction. After two hours of alternate trails, we were no closer to the end of the forest, my promised welcome, nor my home. As I became weary and struggled to remain in faith of this blind man and his forest, he offered to continue leading me through this path of righteousness but I must now reward him for his efforts - 10 per cent of my financial assets he assessed.

So onward I struggled, financially
devalued, but with the assurance from this blind man that a wonderful
ending is near. As I became mentally, physically, morally, ethically,
and by now, downright pissed off, I began to question this blind man's
in-depth knowledge of this forest. Was he just attempting to manipulate
my curious mind and navigate me through a place he knew nothing about?
Or more important, was this the right path that should have been taken
in the first place?

While staring wearily far beyond
hope and now towards despair, dawn broke through the foliage and
steadily illuminated this wretched environment. It was surprisingly
slithering with the very same serpents the blind man had forewarned
would await me outside this heavenly abode. I began to see things more
clearly, objectively, and with an acute sense of reasoning based on
sight and not on faith that this blind man confidently


evaluated my options, looking above, below, upward, outward, within, and
beyond the confines of this forest. There, to my relief, my home was in
sight. It was not through the forest, but a few kilometres to the right
of its entrance. I knew I had to make some effort to get there, but it
was visual, realistic, and attainable. Had I stopped then and there at
the beginning of my dilemma and self-doubt to recalibrate reasoning,
logic and better judgement, I would have concluded that the blind man
and the forest, as Utopian as they presented themselves, were laden with
false promises and wishful unrealistic attainments, and in hindsight,
this journey should have been the road not taken in the first

I am now home, exhausted but relieved and

Absence of evidence is not necessarily
evidence of absence, but extraordinary assertions require extraordinary
proof to substantiate existence.