June 29      

Today's quotation:

Wise people possess humility.  They know that their small islands of knowledge are surrounded by a vast sea of the unknown.

Harold C. Chase

Today's Meditation:

Since I was a kid, I've had an interesting image in my mind.  It's of one of those giant chalkboards that used to be in classrooms-- imagine one of them filling an entire huge wall.  And imagine that that board represents all of the knowledge that's able to be known to human beings.  Now imagine putting the tiniest of marks somewhere on the board-- anywhere.  Compared to what's possible to know in the world, that tiny spot would equal much, much more than I'll ever know while I'm on this planet.

Some may see this perspective as fatalistic.  Others, though, will see it as realistic.  To me it's important because I always want to keep in mind that no matter how much I study or learn or memorize, there's still much more out there that I don't know.  And that's okay-- I'm not meant to know everything there is to know, am I?

And keeping this in mind keeps me humble as far as knowledge is concerned.  I can't show off my knowledge because I know-- humbly-- that if I show off my limited knowledge I'll still be trying to hide just what I don't know.  This humility also reminds me that even if people don't know the same things that I know, they still probably know much, much more than I in other fields and areas.  That's just the way things work.

Another benefit of keeping this in mind is that it keeps the pressure off of me-- I don't have to know everything, and I don't have to worry when someone finds out an area of my ignorance.  I'm gladly ignorant of many things, for I simply don't have the time or energy to try to know everything.  And having that pressure off of me is a great feeling, no matter how I look at it.

Questions to consider:

How would your knowledge compare to the amount of information and material that you don't know?

How is being aware of what we don't know helpful in keeping us humble?

Why do our cultures value knowledge and seem to punish ignorance?

For further thought:

True humility is intelligent self-respect which keeps us from thinking too highly or too meanly of ourselves.  It makes us mindful of the nobility God meant us to have.  Yet it makes us modest by reminding us how far we have come short of what we can be.

Ralph W. Sockman

more thoughts and ideas on humility



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