Knowledge May Be Finite and Wisdom Has No Boundaries
The world today, is in a rat race. People are crazily hankering after knowledge, opportunities, accumulation of wealth, and so on. The entire value system in our society has undergone visible changes. There is not much of space in society for finer things in life. The wave prevalent in the western world has gradually started eroding cultures in the Asian countries as well. The whole world is united today in its quest for knowledge.
Countries are investing enormous amount of wealth and human resources in research and developments, resulting in numerous innovations in various fields. Artificial intelligence and software devices are being made fully use of for faster delivery. Such desperate craze and hankering for knowledge and wealth is forcing the human race to move at a speed much faster than our imagination. The passage of time is counted in nano seconds.
In this fast changing world knowledge has become the most powerful tool. Knowledge can be defined as a function of mind, whereas wisdom is spiritual. Unlike wisdom, knowledge has boundaries.
Now the question that remains is whether knowledge alone is good enough to rule this world. Knowledge without wisdom is like a directionless empty vessel in the ocean. On the other hand, there can be no wisdom without knowledge. Wisdom is the collection of certain selected thoughts for proper use through our judgement and experience. A voracious reader can be a source of huge information and knowledge but there is no guarantee that he has the gift of wisdom.
Knowledge is the plethora of information and experience. On the contrary, wisdom is the proper application of this information in the practical field, at the right moment and right place. Knowledge of nuclear energy is an asset in the present day world. It can be utilised in the nuclear power generation, nuclear medicines for treatment of many serious illness, etc. However, inappropriate application of nuclear energy can invite destruction to the entire universe.
Many people wrongly juxtapose knowledge for wisdom. There is a difference between the two. Francis Bacon says “knowledge is power“. While Gautam Buddha says, “wisdom is the highest of all five virtues“. The approach to knowledge is theoretical, whereas wisdom has a spiritual approach. India is looked upon by the rest of the world as a country of wisdom since ancient days. The stories of Ramayana and Mahabharata are still revered as the wealth of practical wisdom. Bhagavat Gita, written more than five thousand years ago is not considered a book of religion. It is about universal wisdom which is still relevant in the modern world.
In the Corporate world today knowledge and professional management is the most vital requirement. On the contrary we have seen many professional organisations headed by well qualified knowledgeable people closing down the shutters due to lack of vision and proper wisdom on the part of the top leadership. The cause of subprime crisis in US impacting many developing countries in the world during the year 2007 to 2009 can be attributed to the human greed and failed wisdom. The prime players affected during the crisis were banks, hedge funds, investment houses, rating agencies, homeowners, investors and insurance companies.
In short, wisdom is a journey and one can acquire it along the way. Albert Einstein famously said “wisdom is not a product of schooling but of the lifelong attempt to acquire it.”
(The author is a widely travelled freelance writer, motivational speaker and a mechanical engineer.The views expressed in the article are his own.)