Wednesday, June 3, 2009

This is what is called wisdom

This is what is called wisdom. Knowledge is not wisdom. To know ”I don’t know anything” is wisdom. That is the meaning of the oracle of Delphi’s declaration.
Somebody asked, ”Who is the greatest wise man of the world?” and the oracle said, ”Socrates.”
The person went to Socrates and told him,” Have you heard it or not? The oracle of the temple has said that you are the wisest man in the world.”
Socrates is reported to have laughed and said, ”You go back. There must have been some mistake because just today, this morning, it has happened to me that I don’t know anything. How can it be?
If you had come yesterday I would have believed you, because I used to think that I know, but not now. This morning – this very morning – something tremendous has happened to me: all knowledge has appeared as futile. I am awakened. The sleep of knowledge is no longer there; I am no longer dreaming. And now I know only one thing for certain: that I don’t know anything.
”You go back and tell the oracle that something must have gone wrong. The oracle has always been right and true, I know, but this time the oracle has committed an error. You go and put things right. And it is me, Socrates himself, saying that I am the most ignorant man of the world. How can the oracle say I am the most wise? No, it is not possible.”
The man was puzzled, he could not believe it, but he went to the oracle and said, ”There must have been some mistake, sir, because Socrates denies it. He says, ’I know only one thing: that I don’t know anything.’”
And the oracle said, ”That’s why we have declared that he is the greatest wise man of the world. That’s why! Precisely that’s why we have declared it! Go and tell him. If you had asked yesterday, we would not have said so. He was as foolish as anybody else. Now he is not a fool at all – he is not fooled by knowledge. He has awakened.”
Knowing that you don’t know, you really become a knower. That is wisdom. Wisdom is not knowledge. Wisdom is awareness.

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