12 May 2012


Give me wisdom over book knowledge any day.  I've spent many years in college--twelve years as a student and twelve teaching, and I can say without hesitation that I would prefer the company of an unschooled wise man or woman to that of a person who knows much, but feels little.  The two aren't mutually exclusive, of course--many educated people are also wise, and many unschooled people are also unfeeling.  But it seems that the more knowledge we have, the more we tend to look at ourselves as knowing what we need to know, and that couldn't be any further from the truth.

What I need when I talk to people is feedback about my life, about me.  If I'm to advance as a human being and become better (which to me means becoming more useful to my fellow human beings), then I need feedback that helps me to see what I'm doing right and what I'm doing wrong.  I need a wise person to tell me that this person's course of action is ineffective because he or she isn't taking something important into consideration, to tell me that my words were too harsh or too soft for a situation, to tell me that what somebody did to me wasn't at all as I perceived it, but something different entirely.

Most of all, though, I appreciate the examples of the wise--the lives they live and the way they tend to be content with just what they have.  They tend to be much more accepting and understanding, for they see where people are coming from inside--they're able to see past the facades and the attention-getting and know what a person is about.

Wisdom is a quality that I strive after, and I would rather have a pound of wisdom than a ton of knowledge.  It's too late, though--I already have a ton of knowledge, and I'm trying my best to purify it, to take what I need to live a useful life from it and leave the rest behind, so that I may grow in wisdom and thus grow in usefulness to my fellow human beings.  it takes a great deal of maple sap to make maple syrup, and what's not necessary or vital is evaporated as the sap is boiled down.  It's a mistake to think that all of our knowledge is necessary--we need to let some of it evaporate as we search for the wisdom that will most help ourselves and others.

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