Monday, January 11, 2010

Bits And Pieces

Not to know is bad, not to wish to know is worse.

African proverb
"Ah, now at last I'm retired. I don't have to work, I can sleep when I want to. I can watch my favorite TV, play with my grandchildren and now and then have a drink with my buddies. I don';t have to worry about figuring anything out, understanding any new ideas or getting any more wisdom. I don't have to think. What a life!"

I recently heard from a friend who said that when he retires he hopes to be like me, still investigating, pursuing, grasping new ideas about truth and beauty.

I'm sorry, Doctor, but I just can't help myself. I've tried, oh, how I've tried, to dumb myself down. I just can't manage it. I can't do it. Is there a medicine you can prescribe? Please!

If I've learned anything it's that knowledge, understanding, perhaps wisdom and maybe even enlightenment doesn't come all at once, with the flicking on of a switch. It comes in bits and pieces. When I was young, like most youngsters, I wanted to know everything all at once. As a result I gained superficial knowledge about a lot of things and no knowledge at all about others.

My lack of patience was cured once my career started. You can't learn a script in a day and really know it. It takes time and repetition to really know it. And so it is with anything worth knowing.

The unfortunate thing is that some people like to jump ship when it comes to getting any knowledge outside of their own small collection of facts. I was visiting a family one evening and we were watching television. A documentary came on about the history of one of America's most important universities. The man switched channels and said "I don't know anything about culture and I don't want to know." That was my first example of people who are ignorant because they want to be.

I no longer feel, or allow others to make me feel, embarrassed because I don't know something and I don't flaunt my knowledge in front of those who don't know what I know. Wisdom is a personal thing, a thing to be achieved on one's own terms. I really believe that.

If someone wants to be an idiot his whole life that's too bad, but as long as life allows him the freedom to do that, he will continue to change channels when the world of ideas gets too close or jump ship and swim to the safety of his own unchallenged notion of things.

We have to deal with the ignorant of the world. We have no choice. But we don't have to join them.

When I was a kid I wanted to be an explorer like Hudson or Coronado. I enjoyed walking down streets I'd never been on before and poking into odd corners of public parks. When I lived in New Hampshire I went hiking in the White Mountains as often as I could. I loved that.

Now I do my exploring in the pages of a book. Day by day, in bits and pieces, the world is revealing itself to me in small parts. I'm learning the script.

DB - The Vagabond
May Mother Nature open her freezer door soon.


Lori said...

Really love this entry!

Big Mark 243 said...

I liked it a lot too, DB. When you spoke of hiking in New Hampshire, it reminded me of picking up long branches and pretending they were M-14 rifles and I was fighting in the 'good war'!

Willful ignorance... if it isn't a sin, it should be.

Bonnie Bonsai said...

Wisdom is a personal thing, a thing to be achieved on one's own terms. -I believe this too!

Great quotation for my Blog DB. May I have the permission please?

Bits and pieces akin to slowly but surely.

I learned a lot from you DB. Thanks for your big mind.

Joyce said...

Hard as I try I just can't be retired the way I expected to One reason is my ever-so-curious g/son. He asks questions that send me into books and computer to answer him correctly. I learned a great deal about Indians just last week because of a question about the Souex. It seems the more I learn, the more I want to learn. Sigh...and I thought I would just sleep when I want to, watch my favorite TV shows and play with my grandchildren.
Hugs, Joyce

Rose said...

Being retired myself, I noticed the first few months I couldn't shut my mind down. Now, I feel I'm getting a tad lazy. LOL

Hugs, Rose