“Knowledge without wisdom is like man without a faith - a self-propelled disaster waiting to happen.” Lisa M H
Yes, that’s me - the self-propelled disaster area, not waiting to happen, but in a constant state of happening.
Which idiot is it who said that “knowledge is power”? Had they never heard that “ignorance is bliss”? Do they not know that the ‘wrong’ knowledge in the ‘wrong’ hands (or minds, to be literally precise) can be a total liability, causing great harm? And not just to other people - there’s the stress you can inflict upon yourself just from having an insatiable need to know, without being discriminating about what knowledge you seek, and why you pursue it.
Perhaps the originator of the phrase “curiosity killed the cat” knew this, and was being intentionally vague because he thought it might scare the arse off of people if he actually reported that “curiosity killed my Uncle Horace, who read one too many medical articles about how stress could contribute to a heart condition, and promptly died from a heart attack brought on by the stress he experienced as a result of continually reading such depressing news.” Plus, it’s not quite as catchy as the cat version.
Which brings me, inevitably, back to me - the self-exploding, knowledge-seeking missile; who, had I been a cat, would have lost all nine lives within minutes of learning how to walk.
I like to think of myself as a seeker of knowledge and truth: which makes it sound terribly noble and worthy, as if I’m on some kind of crusade, searching for a latter-day version of the Holy Grail - information. I should be wearing armour, a cape, and bearing arms. I think a horse might be a bit too much, though: I hardly have enough room for a cat.
The problem is that I’m not very discerning about the knowledge I seek, or what its impact on me might be. I am a human hoover - I mainly suck up crap. And why should I be surprised by this when I am a hoarder by nature?
Random ideas pop into my head, about which I am absolutely convinced I need to know more (preferably right now, or I will expire on the spot): and off I go, back onto the internet - the Font of all Knowledge (dubious as it frequently is). My true quest, it seems, is to find a legitimate reason for being on the web. Again. *Sigh* God, at this rate I’ll soon be overtaking the amount of time the Crusaders spent battling in the Holy Land. Can’t I find another quest?
So, my latest ‘quest’ (which basically means I got distracted by a thought, and have since been in obsessive pursuit) has been for self-education. Again. I say “again” because I have a series of interchangeable ‘interests’ , with which I become engrossed (to put it mildly - I think the more appropriate terminology is obsessed, or hyper-focused), and repeatedly return to, ad infinitum. My forays into the realm of academia have become a regular highlight, especially since I discovered the world of free, on-line learning resources.
“Oh joy! Finally, a valid reason for going on the internet.” Er, not. “But why? WHY?!!!!! Why can’t I, when everybody else can?! It’s not fair!!!! I LOOOOOOOOOVE learning! And EVERYBODY says learning is a good thing - a means to self-improvement. It makes you a more interesting, well-rounded person. And it’s good for your brain - stops it from atrophying, and improves your memory. I’ll miss out on all of those benefits. It has to be good for me!”
This is what the knowledge I’ve acquired from other people tells me: people I know nothing about, other than what they choose to share on their sites - and even then I cannot get a read on them, or determine whether I’m meant to take what they say literally, due to the minor issue of my being autistic (impaired social understanding, anyone?). Which brings us to the fact that most of these people writing this stuff aren’t autistic, so they’re not writing it for me: I just think they are.
But the wisdom of my repeated experience (repeated ad nauseam because I repeatedly ignore it) tells me that I don’t do well with academic learning; that I’ve already found my calling, which is for writing and art, for which I already have everything I need within me - I don’t need to keep looking for “what I want to be when I grow up” (I’m nearly fifty, for God’s sake: I could drop down dead tomorrow, and then it’d be a bit late for that!), or just looking for more.
And then there’s the fact that it’s passive - I don’t actually do anything, neither whilst learning, nor with the knowledge I acquire, other than let it wash over me, and hopefully retain some of it (or not, since most of it goes over the top of my head anyway, for one reason or another - distraction and boredom being the two main culprits). It just becomes another obsession with which to bore myself, and any other poor sod who’s unlucky enough to gravitate within my orbit at the time, until it fizzles out and I move on to the next thing that grabs my attention. “Oh joy.” *Sigh*
But the real irony is that, despite apparently being extremely intelligent, I struggled with learning at school (other than English, for which I have a natural affinity), mostly due to a mixture of anxiety, easy distractibility and loss of interest, and just plain confusion about the subjects I was learning: they didn’t fit within the context of my life, other than as an abstract means to an end - that of passing exams in order to secure either a ticket into higher education, or a good job.
And I don’t do abstract. Nor do I do the formal model of education, or learning, but still I ignore my inner wisdom and keep on trying to fit myself into a round hole when I’m most definitely an alternatively-shaped peg.
So I guess it’s not what you know, but what you do with what you know. Or what you don’t do with what you know. Or even what you do with what you don’t know. Or what you do when you don’t know. The possibilities, it seems, are endless… like this paragraph.
And I guess that’s why we refer to the wisdom of Solomon, not the knowledge.