Tuesday, October 2, 2007

Knowledge versus opinion

Five O'Clock Shadow 77

Originally uploaded by evo_terra

When I was a young man (a boy, really) I hungered to know things. It was important to me that I have an understanding of things and how they fit in the larger universe as a whole. I wasn't particularly good with fixing or building things (and I still am not), but I was pretty good at remembering facts and figures, as well as breaking down complex and abstract ideas. I was once asked by a childhood friend what I would wish for, and I replied "to know everything".

Now that might have been a stretch, because I wasn't big into studies and was happy to skate along in school rather than buckle down and crack the books. There were many things to learn outside of school, not just within the hallowed walls of the pissant schools I attended.

But now that I'm an adult, I make my living by telling people what I think, which is very different from what I know. I know a lot, but I rarely get to directly apply that hard-and-fast knowledge in my daily life. Instead, much of what I do relies on my experiences and intuition. Today I'm paid pretty well to tell people what to do -- and I can't say for certain that I know what the outcome will be.

And of course I see the obvious correlation between acquiring knowledge and synthesizing that down to the thoughts and opinions requested of me. But at the end of it all, I'm still telling you what I think, and rarely what I know.

Is that wisdom? Finally?

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