Knowledge vs. Wisdom

I like to think of myself as a knowledgeable person... I *know* I am... I've spent much of my life in studies of every classical (and some not so classical) subjects I could get my hands on... I've read mountains of books, held fragile papyri in my hands and decoded the words of the ancients, gazed intently upon the works of Leonardo, observed the human race in all it's comings and goings, and noted history as it happened during my lifetime... But for all that, true wisdom escapes me...

There is a great gulf between knowledge and wisdom... You can become knowledgeable in a multitude of areas - you can even become expert in a few... But none of the sum of knowledge in the world will ever make you wise...

They say wisdom comes with time... I'm not sure I believe that... There are as many foolish people at eighty as there are at eighteen... Perhaps some do not possess the capacity for wisdom... And what is that quality that separates the wise from the fools...? All my studies and observations have not provided me with that answer because wisdom comes in so many varied vessels...

Wisdom is not only the possession of the aged sages... I've met little children who were far wiser than the adults around them... I have met those whose intellect was stifled through disease who were wiser than the doctors who treated them... Wisdom, it seems, is not about what you know or even great experience... It is about how clearly you see the world and how readily you accept and cope with it... But there is more to wisdom as well...

The truely wise even know when to speak and when to be silent... They know, without asking, if their words fall on deaf ears or if it is absorbed and analysed... There is a "knowing" to wisdom that has nothing to do with learned knowledge... An intuition, if you will - but a keenly accurate one...

And I do not seem to possess that... For all my knowledge and experience, I am not wise... And I don't know that I ever will be... For everything I've learned, and know, and lived - there are still so many things that remain a mystery to me, things I have never understood and never will... Given two choices, I am almost always the rash fool rather than the wise sage... Even my own motivations sometimes elude me... And that much, I think, is the beginning of wisdom - knowing oneself and the "whys" of what you do...

Wisdom I think, cannot be learned... Or even really earned... It is a gift - whether bestowed by the gods or by genetics alone... And I envy those who possess it... For them, the world may still be a mystery, but they understand, in a way I never will, the point of it being a mystery... They have what I will never find - contentment... I will always be a seeker, a wanderer... Looking for answers to questions that may have none...
5 Responses
  1. Ken Says:

    I always figured that wisdom came with experience. That we have things occur in our lives that make see the world in a different light. It all depends on the path we take.

    As the adage goes "Although I may have wisdom, I am not wise."


  2. StarfuryZeta Says:

    Some folks seem to have the innate ability to be right, say the right thing, act in the right way, in a timely manner. I agree with Ken, experience does help with these things. However, sometimes, that experience comes with a pricetag...one that you'd never want to experience in the first place, thus remain a fool to.


  3. Axe Says:

    Definately, Ken. Experience, and learning from it...gives you wisdom. However, if you don't learn from it, the suffering is all in vain!


  4. Charles Says:

    "And I do not seem to possess that... For all my knowledge and experience, I am not wise"

    I read this entry, and I could hear some wisdom in your words.


  5. Angelia Rian Says:

    Ken - I used to think that too, and perhaps in some cases that's true... But even those who lack more worldly experience can be immensely wise... (Example: a dear friend of mine who is paraplegic and has spent most of his life as a shut-in is one of the wisest people I know...)

    Starfury - Too true... Sometimes the price of wisdom is pain...

    Axe - Some people never learn, no matter how much they suffer... *wry grin* Possibly the world's greatest irony right there...

    Charles - *smiles* Perhaps the first step towards wisdom is knowing you *aren't* wise... If that's so, there's hope for me yet...