Daily Nugget of Gold 986
Of Wisdom and Knowing
One of the strange paradoxes about wisdom is that the more of it you have, the less you “know”. Okay, we think we have your attention now, so let’s begin:
Wise people know that they don’t know. That might seem to be a contradiction in terms, but it really isn’t. It has to do with judgment, and in particular, judging people. One might think that the truly wise can “spot a phony a mile away” and that might be true, but to a person possessing true wisdom, they would be loath to make that call. They might be cautious in dealing with a person they suspect might be a phony, but unlike the average Joe, they are probably not going to make any kind of declarative statement about someone’s character, motivation, or intent because they are wise enough to know that they don’t know everything.
Often we see sensational headlines about a crime and we hear of an seemingly guilty individual and we immediately jump to the conclusion that they did it. Have the police arrest that person, then it’s a done deal. Many of us believe at that point that the cops were right, and of course- this only confirms that we were as well. Of course, cooler heads prevailed when our founding fathers set up the criminal justice system, and it has evolved to be a rather imperfect mess, but just about as good as it can be given all of the unknowns that can occur as we deal with the stuff that puts it into play.
We all perceive things from our own unique perspective and what some people would condemn might seem justifiable to others. Truly wise people shy away from passing judgment on the individuals involved- probably the closest a truly wise person would come to such a thing would be to declare that a particular action seemed wrong. Why would a wise person be so wishy-washy? Because even if we can prove a person did it without a doubt, we don’t know for sure their full motivations. We might have an idea about it, we may be able to prove that “beyond a reasonable doubt in a court of law” but we cannot “know” for sure. As Judge Judy would say, that would require us to operate someone else’s brain. We can never know what someone else “knows”.
We actually didn’t come here to discuss court cases, however. (Gee, we guess we ought to start talking about what we DID come here to talk about, right?) We are referring to speaking bad about another. We never really know for sure what the motivation, intent, and all the life experiences someone else had up to this point, so we have no business passing judgment on them, and less business running our mouths about it. A wise person doesn’t gossip. They never know enough to be sure of being right, and they are wise enough to realize it. Further, they see that nothing good can be gained in tearing down another human being.
Question of the Day to Ask Ourselves
“What can I do to gain more wisdom and less speculation?”
Copyright 2013 Kevin Littleton, all rights reserved.