September 27

Keep me away from the wisdom
which does not cry, the
philosophy which does not laugh,
and the greatness which does
not bow down before children.

Khalil Gibran


Today's Meditation:

Wisdom and philosophy can be wonderful things, yet once you divorce them from emotions and compassion, they lose all of their value.  Wisdom can be very helpful in life, but it must be practical and it must take into account the humanity and the needs of all people if it's to be useful.  Wisdom that doesn't cry comes in the form of the person who hears that a friend has suffered a great loss, only to say something like, "Well, you didn't really need that person or thing, anyway."  It takes no account of the emotional needs of the moment, and seeks only to assert itself whether the situation calls for its assertion or not. 

As we learn, it's easy to take on information and concepts and keep them separate from our humanity.  But what good is wisdom or philosophy if they help no one else at all?  What good are they if they're dry and sterile, and if they show no compassion at all?  The best doctors are those who understand what their patients are going through; the best teachers are those who see and feel the needs of their students; the best counselors are those who know the struggles of their clients.

Khalil Gibran knows that wisdom and greatness and philosophy are traits and pursuits that need to serve our fellow humans, but that can easily be warped to become ends unto themselves.  I've known many people who have studied philosophy only to say that they know what certain philosophers thought, without ever trying to consider how to apply those thoughts to serve people who need them in their lives. 

I also prefer wisdom that cries and philosophy that laughs.  I prefer to call "great" the people who have the humility to realize that there are more important things in the world than their own actions and achievements, and who recognize that all that we do, we do to improve the world for our children.  Dry and sterile?  You can have it.

Questions to consider:

How do pursuits such as philosophy lose their usefulness in our lives? 

Why do so many people feel that knowing something is enough, without ever trying to find applications of their knowledge in their own lives and in the lives of others?

How might we find ways to apply the wisdom that we've attained in our own lives?

For further thought:

Those who have the largest hearts have the
soundest understandings; and they are the truest
philosophers who can forget themselves.

William Hazlitt


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