More and more, I become aware of how the parable of the blind men touching the elephant applies to science.

I naively once used to think that science also searched for reality in addition to expaining/predicting how things work. Now I realize that we are like the blind men touching different parts of the elephant. We have managed to extend our probing of the physical world with telescopes, electron microscopes, particle colliders, etc. Somewhat as if, blind men had access to increasingly longer sticks to better poke and probe the elephant. Yet probe as they might, nothing can change the fact that they are blind.

Using abstract mathematical models, we have refined our knowledge to better understand and predict how things work. We have based models on 0-dimensional points (quantum mechanics), 1-dimensional, vibrating strings (string theory), and in an iterative process improved our understanding of the universe (even if string theory has yet to be physical verified). Cosmology has evolved from the simple Big Bang theory, to complexer theories of multiverses, multidimensional universes, etc. But what is really true?

Our current theories breakdown at the fringes. Einstein's theory of gravity breaks down on approaching a singularity, delivering infinity as a result. Quantum mechanics stops at the Planck length. String theory tries to solve this problem by modeling strings whose length is the Planck length. Yet this is yet another mathematical approximation.

If searching for reality is a philosophical question, it is very frustrating to realize that, like the blind men, we are restricted in what we can really probe, and consequently are doomed never to know...