Monday, October 10, 2011

Wisdom and Knowledge: Understanding the Difference

iOn one occasion on the first day of class, some of my recent arrivals (students) wondered why they needed to go through the cultural orientation we require of all new students. In one particular case, a 18-year-old student proclaimed that he already knew a lot about "American" culture, and thus, thought it was a waste of time.

I think told him the following saying: "True wisdom is knowing that you know nothing." At first, this didn't make sense to him and the other students, and then I went on to explain that the more I had traveled over years (from Saudi Arabia, to South America, to Asia), the more I realized how little I knew. When I was 21, I thought I had the world in the palm of my hand, but 25+ years later, I realize how naive or culturally illiterate I really was.

The more I learn, the more I realize that true wisdom starts from recognizing that there is so much to learn beyond our current awareness, and though observation, patience, and some humility, we can really become teachable.


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