Thursday, 13 January 2011
A Lesson Never Properly Learned.........
I don't know what triggered the query but I remember it clearly. One of those moments where a child's question comes completely without warning out of left field to an adult who is unfailingly expected to know the answer. My father sat opposite in his armchair quietly reading, I was reading but not reading, mulling around something from a school-day or from an overheard adult conversation. I gained his attention in that childlike way, a two toned notification that something deep and meaningful is about to come.
"What's the difference between knowledge and wisdom?"
Not a flicker of surprise. No question in return about what had made a boy of six or seven ask such a thing. He put the book, open pages down, on the thigh of his crossed legs and looked at the hearth of the fire for a second.
"Well, knowledge comes from learning. It's understanding things, knowing what things mean, how they work or maybe what should be done."
My eyebrows crooked together in concentration as I took it in.
"So what's wisdom then?" A serious voice.
He leaned back in the comfort of his chair and rested his head on palms linked behind his neck. He now looked up at the ceiling momentarily and exhaled softly through pursed lips before running one hand back through his hair.
"Well, if knowledge is knowing what should be done, then wisdom would actually be doing it."
Roll forward forty-odd years and it's simple and not so simple at the same time. Sometimes I'm knowledgeable, sometimes I'm wise.
Sometimes, I'm just a prat!
See you later.
Listening to The Jam, 'That's Entertainment'
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