Knowledge vs Wisdom
In this modern world, people often confuse “knowledge” with “wisdom.” This is incorrect. Knowledge and wisdom are two very different things. Here are Webster’s definitions for each:
Knowledge is the “acquaintance with facts as from investigation”.
Wisdom is the “knowledge of what is true and right, coupled with
just judgment as to action.”
I have been thinking about this as I learn new things each day in school. I don’t want to be proud of my knowledge, but wise. Alfred Lord Tennyson is my favorite poet. He wrote a long poem that I really like. It is called “In Memoriam.” He wrote it on the death of one of his dear friends. He mourns his friend but at the same time he talks about life and death and the things that we face in life. The poem has 131 verses and is extremely difficult and long but it gives you a lot to think about. This is a verse that I particularly like. I noticed that Tennyson refers to Knowledge as but a little child that wishes to display what he has learned. Wisdom, he speaks of as “heavenly, of the soul.”
Who loves not Knowledge? Who shall rail
Against her beauty? May she mix
With men and prosper! Who shall fix
Her pillars? Let her work prevail.
But on her forehead sits a fire:
She sets her forward countenance
And leaps into the future chance,
Submitting all things to desire.
Half-grown as yet, a child and vain-
She cannot fight the fear of death
What is She, cut off from love and faith,
But some wild Pallas from the brain
Of Demons? Fiery hot to burst
All barriers in her onward race
For power. Let her know her place;
She is the second, not the first.
A higher hand must make her mild,
If all be not in vain; and guide
Her footsteps, moving side by side
With Wisdom, like the younger child:
For She is earthly of the mind,
But Wisdom heavenly of soul
O, friend, who camest to thy goal
So early leaving me behind,
I wish the great world grew like thee,
Who grewest not alone in power
And knowledge, but by year and hour
In reverence and in charity.
You may have to read it twice to really understand what it means (I did) but when you do, it makes sense to you and the whole idea all fits together like a puzzle. Let us not live to acquire knowledge, but wisdom, and we shall find both.