The Blind Men and the Elephant
When Kim is asked to explain Integrative Law, she often starts with the story of the Blind Men and the Elephant. For years, she even carried a stuffed elephant, designed and made by our friend, Diana Baumbauer. The fabric illustrates the poem: brown wood-grained legs, a brick wall back, braided rope tail, etc. It is a good teaching tool and visual for talking about systems change, a complex concept. (It also makes a nice pillow on the airplane.)
Integrative Law is like that elephant. There are many angles and pieces to the movement. Many people have a clear view of one part and know nothing of the others. Some have a vague idea about the other parts of the movement. Others have a sense of the whole elephant without distinguishing the various pieces. Some of the distinctions overlap the others.
Legal training artificially assumes that life can be compartmentalized. In real life, a car accident is a complex set of circumstances that we sort into artificial categories. We lawyers categorize the car accident and say that the criminal charges for driving under the influence are handled by one court, the criminal system; the liability is a tort, handled by another. The facts may be shaped differently for each approach.
The holistic approach to the movement, as symbolized by the Elephant, has been enjoyed by so many people that the Elephant became a sort of mascot and icon for the Integrative Law Movement.