Knowledge is wolf in wisdom’s clothing #MondayMorningWakeUpCall
Charles Spurgeon, an 18th century British Baptist Preacher explains my MondayMorningWakeUpCall beautifully. He says, “Wisdom is the right use of knowledge. To know is not to be wise. Many men know a great deal, and are all the greater fools for it. There is no fool so great than a knowing fool. But to know how to use knowledge is to have wisdom”
We laud people who can quote facts, figures and aphorisms. We applaud people who seem to know the GDP, foreign policy, capital and currency of countries we never knew existed. We glorify people whose vast knowledge lives can pledge.
Knowledge has become (probably has always been) a measure of a person’s intelligence. But if you truly deeply madly ponder over how knowledge about the world at large really helps you as an individual, you might not come up with a better answer than “to avoid being perceived as a dumb bimbette if I cannot converse on a topic.” At least I couldn’t come up with a better answer.
How else does it matter if you don’t know what the Vyapam scam is about, who won the IPL or woe betide, who’s the President of India other than being judged as the uncoolest of dinosaurs, the ignoramasaurus.
Case to point – before judging Alia Bhatt as an ignoramasaurus on her infamous response on Koffee with Karan (President of India is Prithviraj Chavan), it might be helpful to remind yourself that she probably earns more than you do, is more famous than you might ever be, and is making a living doing what she loves.
Even Sherlock Holmes, or at least Arthur C. Doyle shares the same view point (I would presume from a dialogue exchange between Holmes and Watson)
Sherlock Holmes: Look, it doesn’t matter to me who’s prime minister, or who’s sleeping with who…
Dr. Watson: [quietly] Or whether the Earth goes round the Sun.
Sherlock Holmes: Oh God that again. It’s not important.
Dr. Watson: Not important? It’s primary school stuff. How can you not know that?
I am not advocating ignorance. If any topic/subject impacts you directly in your personal or professional life, then yes it is worthwhile delving deeper in the subject to appear erudite. After all, if you’re working as a Digital marketing professional and you are clueless about ‘periscope’, then you know why you didn’t ace that job interview.
Nor am I discouraging satiating your curiosity across any inane minutiae even if it may kill you.
But I am advocating questioning the precious time you spend on filling your mind with worthless junk (news in my mind is the unhealthiest of them all). After all, if you see time like I do, as a diminishing commodity, then I would rather spend it on improving my ‘knowledge’ on my vocation and nonsense that may help lead a more productive and fulfilling life, rather than on life, the universe and everything (cos the answer anyway is 42)
In fact, long before Google was a verb, Einstein figured “I don’t need to know everything, I just need to know where to find it.”