Part 7 in the Moderation Series. To See Part 1, click here.
It seems like the more we know, the more we don’t know. I have lived my life never tiring of learning more. I have an insatiable appetite for knowledge, and I don’t think I’ve ever lost it.
I think one of the greatest things my parents ever did for me was purchase a set of World Book Encyclopedias. I would flip through those things devouring knowledge. Facts, figures, history, I wanted to know more and more. It was one of the ways I could explore my world around me. Searching for knowledge is inherently human, I think. However, I also think I may be obsessive about it. I am addicted to the pursuit of knowledge.
In comes the internet circa 1993ish. What a treasure-trove of information, and it never ends! Never, never, never, never ends. Never! Sometime, about 10 years ago, I realized that I had literally burned out, completely overdosed on all the information the internet had to offer. I spent life saying “Let’s find out,” to unknown answers. With the internet, I had Yahoo, Lycos, and Google to answer all my questions. It overwhelmed me. At some point, I realized I had to slow down. I couldn’t possibly know everything.
So is there such thing as too much knowledge? Well, I think the answer lies in comparing knowledge with wisdom. By definition, knowledge is the state of knowing something, particularly a fact. Wisdom, on the other hand, is the ability to discern or judge what is true, right, or lasting. So, there is a lot of information out there, and it is my job to have the wisdom to tell what parts of that knowledge are useful, true, or correct.
In essence, I have to filter the knowledge I receive to gain wisdom. Wisdom, then, is the moderation of knowledge. You might argue, aha, then you don’t need to moderate your wisdom! I would tend to agree. Wisdom, in and of itself, is a moderating word. To say we only need wisdom in moderation, is like saying we only need moderation in moderation.
So put that in your pipe and smoke it.
“…grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change; courage to change the things I can; and the wisdom to know the difference…” from the Serenity Prayer attributed to Reinhold Neibuhr