What Does The Blind Leading the Blind Mean?

Blind Leading the Blind Meaning

Definition: Having a leader who is no more informed than his followers, both of whom are unequipped to deal with the situation at hand.

To be in a situation where the blind lead the blind is not good. Everyone in the situation is equally “blind,” or unknowledgeable about the situation into which he or she is going.

In this phrase, blind is being used metaphorically. It does not literally mean those with the absent of sight leading others without the absent of sight.

blind leading blindInstead, it uses blind figuratively to refer to a leader who is not rich in information, uninformed, or simply incapable of being the leader. In this sense, a “blind” leader is unfit to lead, but the people who are following are equally as blinded and their leader.

If you are in a situation where your leader does not know more than his followers or is unfit to lead, you are a part of the blind leading the blind. Look for a new leader immediately.

Origin of The Blind Leading the Blind

There are two ancient sources of this phrase, which is still commonly used today.

blind following the blindIn the Bible, Matthew 15:14 refers to “the blind leading the blind.” A 1535 translation of the Bible reads,

  • “Let they go, they are ye blynde leaders of ye blynde. Wha one blinde leadeth another, they fall both i ye diche.” [When the blind lead the blind, they both fall in a ditch.]

Before the Bible, the Hindu Upanishads stated,

  • “abiding in the midst of ignorance, thinking themselves wise and learned, fools go aimlessly hither and thither, like blind led by the blind.”

Examples of The Blind Leading the Blind

This phrase can be a reference to any leader who does not understand what he or she is leading people through.

For example, if a chemistry teacher were hired despite not having enough knowledge of chemistry to fully understand what was expected of his students, he would be the blind leading the blind.

If a car breaks down in the middle of the road with no one else around, and the two people inside the car must find a way to fix it, one may take the lead by reading the manual and getting out the tools despite having no prior car-fixing experience. She may be giving directions to her partner, but, since she has no prior experience fixing cars, she will feel like the blind leading the blind.

More Examples

  • “It was the blind leading the blind,” he said. “A lot of trial and error, and lot of learning experiences. We couldn’t even live here our first year, so we were all in dorms spread out and trying to coordinate things.” –Indianapolis Star
  • How ironic that the nation’s least fiscally responsible and most frivolous spenders of money without regard to consequence are now the most pious in their rebuke of the U.S. auto makers. Talking about the pot calling the kettle black. Or maybe the blind leading the blind? –Houston Chronicle

Summary

When the blind lead the blind, a leader does not know more than his followers and is unfit to lead them.

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