Thursday, March 5, 2009
“True knowledge exists in knowing that you know nothing. And in knowing that you know nothing, that makes you the smartest of all.” ~ Socrates
When I was a young girl, I wanted to know everything. For one thing I was a bookworm, and I suppose the only thing that saved me from being the perfect incarnation of the typical nerd is the fact that I had no need for glasses.
I loved to learn about everything, and every time I heard of people who held several degrees I looked up to them as if they held the map to the Holy Grail. I wanted to be like them – I wanted to speak foreign languages and learn about different cultures, and even learn about weird chemical reactions that most people found boring. Above all, I think that what fascinated me most was the human mind. Every time I had the chance to run across someone suffering from a psychological ailment or another, I read all I could find about the condition – the more I read, the more I wanted to know.
I was just as absorbed by spirituality, and entertained many a discussions with our family priest, Don Battaglini, the man who probably taught me the most important lesson of all. “Learn with your heart” he told me one day, “not with your mind. If you want to know people, observe them, don’t read about them”.
He went on to explain that many people spend their lives learning facts to strengthen their weak beliefs. Without rational explanations, or something written in black ink on white paper, they feel lost and vulnerable. Truth is that we all know what is right in our hearts.
When we feel we know everything, we indeed know nothing. The part of us that feels fulfilled by sheer human knowledge is limited in its perception and can only function within the boundaries of human nature. We fill our heads with empty facts to fill the voids in our hearts.
True knowledge, of ourselves and others, comes to us when we still our minds and realize we know very little. We feel the need to qualify and quantify everything, even that which cannot be catalogued.
Through our limited, flawed perception we assume that someone that knows a lot is smarter than the next guy, and yet we forget that our world is full of educated fools.