"Knowing enough is enough to know"~ Tao te Ching
"Little did he know. That means there's something he doesn't know, which means there's something you don't know, did you know that?"~ Stranger then Fiction
I have talked a lot of wisdom lately but not about wisdom. To understand the idea of being wise you first have to understand the limits of your own understanding. At the heart of wisdom is being able to accept that there are things you do not know and more over things that you cannot know. In the U.S. we are trained taught and expected to have an opinion on everything whether we have the facts or not. It is almost a sin to say the words "I don't know"
We need to accept the fact that there are things we don't know and limits to what we can know. Admitting this opens doors for personnel growth by showing us areas of study and research for us to explore. It also builds integrity. If we are willing to tell someone "I don't know" they understand intuitively that we are credible on the information we provided. If there is one lesson I took from being an insurance agent it was this. It is better to say admit the lack of knowledge and offer to fallow up with research on the matter then to give bad advice.
At the heart of wisdom I think is an understanding of our place in the world, our knowledge of the world and our knowledge of ourselves. Knowing were the boundary of this understanding lies is just as important as knowing what is within the boundary. When we hide behind veils of false knowledge we blur this line, it is like knowingly stepping out on thin ice. We put ourselves in moral danger, not just because we represent ourselves as something we are not but also because we by in to the lie.
If you are interested in furthering your education then I don't know serves as a guide post showing us places we can explore. The beauty of this is when we fallow the signs of I don't know we are almost always led in to territory that is relevant for us in some fashion. We are here because we encountered the idea in the wild and after that encounter decided it will be beneficial to look at this more closely. In less intellectual matters the sign post points us to times we need to sit down with friends and talk something out, we need other ideas to stimulate our own way of thinking and clarify the haze of indecision.
So in seeking wisdom remember that we need to be aware of the boundaries of our knowledge as well as what we know. We need to be willing to admit that we have limitations and then work to remove them. And we need to know that integrity and honesty are more important than looking knowledgeable and important.
** I would like to mention that this post was inspired by a great post at Why not start now