Knowledge and wisdom

This diagram has been intriguing me since it popped up in my network recently. It’s a very basic Socratic model and the gist of it is: the more I know, the more I’m aware of my ignorance.

We are raised to believe that gathering knowledge is the road to adulthood. The more we know, the more we understand life and can approach life’s dilemma’s with insight and wisdom. As I stumble through life, only able to use hindsight to understand what I was doing, it becomes more and more clear to me that this is an illusion. Knowledge does not lead to wisdom.

The Age of Reason, which in many ways still dominates the western world, makes a similar claim. The more knowledge man gathers about the world, the more we will understand about the world and life itself. Recent discoveries in the fields of physics, biology, and astronomy would prove otherwise. Our currant series of environmental, economic, and political crises would prove otherwise. It would seem that mankind, especially western thought and paradigms, is stuck in the middle stage of the model. Thinking one knows and understands everything is even more dangerous than innocent ignorance.

So true wisdom means accepting the fact that we… I… know nothing. With this beginners mind, as it is sometimes called, we can open ourselves to experience. Experiencing things without immediately jumping on them and declaring their meaning and relevance. Accepting that we don’t always understand the consequences of our deeds. This humility could also make us more thoughtful and careful about what we do. And sometimes, we can only understand by looking back, after the fact.

I love sharing my experiences and understanding of life through this blog. But reading my blog will not help you understand where you’re going. It might help you understand where you’ve been. And, just possibly, it can help you understand where you are stuck right now.

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