“A man only becomes wise when he begins to calculate the approximate depth of his ignorance.” – Gian Carlo Menotti
Daily Nugget of Gold 1499
Of Knowing and Wisdom
We were going to write this one all by ourselves and then it occurred to us that there are wiser people throughout history who could and should lend us a helping hand on this. What we’re talking about the differences between knowing and wisdom. Most people consider the very wise to be extremely knowledgeable. In essence, they are- but not in ways that we might expect. This is probably why wise folks are held in such high regard- that is, when society isn’t busy throwing them in prison or burning them at the stake.
“The only true wisdom is in knowing you know nothing.” – Socrates
Nothing? Know nothing? That’s wise? We think most people have seen idiots and fools who think they know everything, but we are probably thinking of ourselves to be wiser than them because we at least know more than they do, and can point out what’s wrong with a stupid person’s perceptions. Does that make us wise, though?
“A fool thinks himself to be wise, but a wise man knows himself to be a fool.” – William Shakespeare
That’s a pretty disparaging thing to say about wise folks, isn’t it? A person who realizes he’s a fool is wise? Maybe Shakespeare let that slip without really thinking, huh?
“You can tell whether a man is clever by his answers. You can tell whether a man is wise by his questions.” – Naguib Mahfouz
That thought by Mahfouz is a bit enlightening in the context of the other quotes we’ve provided here. Can it be that open mindedness is a defining trait of wisdom? What does that say, however, about how much one knows? More importantly, what does that say about the self-assessment a wise person makes in the information gathering and verification process?
Napoleon Hill met a great many wise people in his quest to find the common denominators of success. What did he have to say about the truly wise?
“Wise men, when in doubt whether to speak or to keep quiet, give themselves the benefit of the doubt, and remain silent.” – Napoleon Hill
Just a few things to consider, as we weigh our own accumulated wisdom.
Question of the Day to Ask Ourselves
“What do I really and truly know for sure?”
Copyright 2016 Kevin Littleton, all rights reserved.