Friday, December 04, 2009

The Upshot: Be Forever Mindful
Of Your Additions & Subtractions

'To attain knowledge, add things every day. To attain wisdom, remove things every day.'
--Lao Tzu. You might think of this as a companion to this earlier notion. So we have to ask: how do you manage the difficult balance between knowledge and wisdom?

7 Comments:

At 2:13 PM, Blogger Kass said...

At first glance, I thought you said, "...be forever mindful of your ADDICTIONS - now THAT, I could comment on...

 
At 3:30 PM, Blogger John Ettorre said...

Thanks for the smile.

 
At 8:35 PM, Blogger June Calender said...

Some centuries after Lao Tzu Confucius talked about the "rectification of names" [the phrase in the text book I read]; it's appropriate. Knowledge is not wisdom, we have to define the two wods -- a bigger job than I'm up for tonight but one is about accumulation of information the other is about what that information means in the context of human life. Smarter people than I have tackled this, I wish I had references at hand but don't.

 
At 12:56 AM, Blogger Art Durkee said...

Knowledge is about knowing. Wisdom is about unknowing. Knowledge leads to expert's mind, wisdom leads to beginner's mind.

It's not a matter of balance, it's matter of having both at the same time. It's not that you forget everything you ever learned, to gain wisdom, it's that you don't cling to it, don't attach yourself to it, don't festishize it and make it into a goal unto itself.

Wisdom is also about having perspective, which one gains with time and experience. "Removing things" means unburdening your self with the things that no longer serve you, that don't add to wisdom. You have to learn to let go anyway, since life is all about change, and nothing is permanent. "Going with the flow" is wisdom, when "clinging to the liferaft" is not.

At least, that's my sense of it.

 
At 9:52 AM, Blogger John Ettorre said...

Not bad. Thanks, both of you.

 
At 8:58 AM, Blogger Kim said...

I love this quote! (as well as the comments)

To make a technology parallel, I think it's about knowing when something is obsolete and realizing it's time to upgrade.

 
At 9:41 AM, Blogger John Ettorre said...

That's a useful parallel, Kim.

 

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