Seeking wisdom is perhaps one of the most noble causes; however, it is also one of the most dangerous. This is mainly due to the fact that most seekers look for wisdom without really knowing what it looks like.
Neale Donald Walsch, author of Conversations with God, states that “wisdom is knowledge applied.” This means that wisdom is not found in books alone, it also comes from experience.
We all know people who have vast amounts of knowledge, and they dazzle you with their information. On the other hand, we also know people who are illiterate but whose experience is enriching when shared. However, though we may be tempted to label either of them wise, they are not, for they both still have faults they are unaware of.
The book learner may call himself wise and preach his knowledge to everyone, but he may sometimes be unable to recognize the opportunities in the world around him. Reading about the procedures involved in a surgery is not the same as actually performing it. I have met many people who discovered that they couldn’t handle blood in their third or fourth year of medicine despite having had straight A’s in all their exams. They know what blood is and what its made of, but when it came to dealing with the actual thing, they were lost.
The illiterate expert, on the other hand, could do lots of things but took longer than necessary. This is because he was doing out of trial and error without the ability to learn from other people’s mistakes, only his own.
But that is not the problem. Both of these may be very successful in their lives. The true challenge in seeking wisdom lies in the ego. True wisdom is in taming ones ego. In their quest to wisdom, the book learner sometimes cultivates arrogance, and the illiterate acquires pride. Both arrogance and pride taint wisdom and obliterate it.
However, there are very few who succeed, and they all have one thing in common: innocence. Such people, when you scratch their brains, you discover vast troves of knowledge, and when you see them work, you witness superior skill. Yet, despite all this, they never make you feel inferior; they make you feel loved and wanted. And this is the true mark of wisdom which knows no age, race, gender or religion.