♫ The lips of the righteous teach many,
But fools die for want of wisdom.
The rich man wealth is in his city;
Do you hear, do you hear, can you understand?! ♫
Omar Ha-Redeye’s last post on the iPhone and Privacy caused me to reflect. In particular, he started a train of thought that led to the conclusion that courtesy of the Internet, finding out answers to questions (i.e. the search for knowledge) has never been easier. One can seek information on legal cases, quantum physics, recipes or even song lyrics, quickly and easily – and gain knowledge at an unprecedented rate. Compared to traditional research in libraries, the ‘transaction cost’ in following down a thought and expanding your knowledge via the internet is exceedingly low. In economic terms, given that your communication/physical costs are already ‘sunk’ or spent (your computer, internet connection and any costs associated with the heating and lighting of the space you are occupying at the moment), then the marginal cost to you to yield to curiosity and follow a thought seeking greater knowledge is essentially just your time.
However, this yields a curious situation – are we any better at making decisions as a result of the increased access to knowledge? Stated another way, is being called to knowledge helping us to achieve greater wisdom? We know that wisdom is not something that can be learned – rather it is something that is forged as a result of life’s experiences. Wisdom used to be imparted by mentoring – by gaining knowledge as well as judgment by working closely with one more experienced than us; learning to see the world thru their eyes and in the process, learning to judge what we see thru our own eyes.
Today mentoring – that all too precious elixir – is increasingly hard to find. Instead we have been taught the way towards a lesser god – increased knowledge. One can only hope that somehow we also figure out the path towards increased wisdom as easily..