by Christopher Penczak, edited by Tina Whittle
It looks like a fork in the road. On one side is the path of knowledge. On the other side is the path of wisdom. What is the difference, and which should we choose?
We live in an age of knowledge. Information surrounds us, and we are its constant mouthpiece, not only shouting facts but also opinions. The voice of knowledge speaks incessantly—it pauses for listening in order to agree or rebut, rarely to contemplate.
Contemplation, however, leads to wisdom. Contemplation comes with silence, stillness, and reflection, which allows us to say, “I don’t know” and even “I don’t care.” Wisdom seems to require a lot more of us than knowledge, for while knowledge asks us to be right, wisdom asks us to be correct. Satisfaction is not guaranteed on this path, for it involves discipline and soft skills that are hard to learn.
In reality, the choice isn’t one or the other. The path of wisdom automatically comes with knowledge, but the path of knowledge alone does not come with wisdom. The path of wisdom usually bestows heart as well, for although knowledge alone might be passionate, that passion is infused more with anger than love. Wisdom helps us know how, when, where, and why to use the knowledge we have to be our most effective, while knowledge at its best wants to “know” but at its worst insists on “being right.”
Knowledge is of the mind, but wisdom flows from the illuminated mind, lit by love and will. Knowledge can be abused, but wisdom cannot. Knowledge can lead to both wonderful and terrible things being created. Wisdom asks us to ask why, and to understand that just because we can do something doesn’t mean we should.
Wisdom is not always fancy or pretty. It can be brutal and gut wrenching when hard won. Wisdom might not always be “right,” but it is true, as many truths are conveyed in myth and story. Sometimes the truest things never really happened.
While knowledge is a requirement on the path, understanding and wisdom are goals of the adept. Beware those versed only in opinion or cold fact. Beware manipulation by opinions and facts alone. Look for the context of wisdom. Distinguish between the two. Much of what is being said, written, and taught, within and outside of the occult world, is written by the voice of knowledge. Wisdom brings experience, which allows for the digestion and integration of those experiences.
Teach yourself to listen to the voice of wisdom. Strive to speak with the voice of wisdom. Absorb facts and form opinions, but express them from a mind illuminated by love and will.