Knowledge by Luis Cabrera
People think they don’t have to learn,
Because there is so much information available.
But knowledge is more than possessing information.
Only the wise move fast enough.
The amount of information available today is unprecedented. In medieval times a few volumes could form an encyclopedia of all known facts, or a despot could control his subjects simply by isolating or destroying a library. Now information is available to us in tidal proportions.
Some people take a lethargic approach to this enormity. They feel that if there is so much at hand, they do not need to actually learn anything. They’ll go out and find it when they need it. But life moves too fast for us to rely on this laziness. Just as the flow of information has increased exponentially, so too has the pace of decision making accelerated. We can’t be passive; we have to internalize information and place ourselves precisely in the flow.
It has been stated that the average human being utilizes 10 percent of his or her mental capacity. A genius uses only 15 percent. So we definitely have the capacity to keep up — if we unlock our potential. This requires education, experience, and determination. One should never stop learning, never stop exploring, never stop going on adventures. Be like the explorers of old. What they acquired for themselves will always surpass those who merely read about their exploits.
Deng Ming Tao, 365 Tao
Forget about knowledge and wisdom,
and people will be a hundred times better off.
Throw away charity and righteousness,
and people will return to brotherly love.
Throw away profit and greed,
and there won’t be any thieves.
These three are superficial and aren’t enough
to keep us at the center of the circle, so we must also:
Put others first.
–Lao Tsu, Tao Te Ching, 19
Renounce knowledge and your problems will end.
What is the difference between yes and no?
What is the difference between good and evil?
Must you fear what others fear?
Nonsense, look how far you have missed the mark!
– Lao Tsu, Tao Te Ching, 20
Without opening your door,
you can know the whole world.
Without looking out your window,
you can understand the way of the Tao.
The more knowledge you seek,
the less you will understand.
The Master understands without leaving,
sees clearly without looking,
accomplishes much without doing anything.
– Lao Tsu, Tao Te Ching, 47
One who seeks knowledge learns something new every day.
One who seeks the Tao unlearns something every day.
Less and less remains until you arrive at non-action.
When you arrive at non-action,
nothing will be left undone.
Mastery of the world is achieved
by letting things take their natural course.
You can not master the world by changing the natural way.
– Lao Tsu, Tao Te Ching, 48
The more knowledge that is acquired,
the stranger the world will become.
– Lao Tsu, Tao te Ching, 57
The master seeks no possessions.
She learns by unlearning,
thus she is able to understand all things.
– Lao Tsu, Tao Te Ching, 64
Knowing you don’t know is wholeness.
Thinking you know is a disease.
Only by recognizing that you have an illness
can you move to seek a cure.
The Master is whole because
she sees her illnesses and treats them,
and thus is able to remain whole.
– Lao Tsu, Tao Te Ching, 71
I’ve always had a tremendous love of learning – learning new things is one of the greatest joys in life for me. These days, I sometimes joke that I don’t have to know anything because Google knows everything. But I still love to learn things for myself.
And yet, I also understand the admonitions of Lao Tsu about giving up seeking knowledge to seek the Tao. There is a point where we have worked so hard to understand something, and then, we seem to gain an instant insight and it all falls into place. I have found this while studying many different subjects, while dealing with difficult people, while trying to learn about myself, while trying to understand the world, and while studying the Tao. When we give up seeking to understand, suddenly, we simply do intuitively “get it”.
I always liked the expression, “Life is a mystery to be lived, not a problem to be solved.” Being an engineer, I have always had a real problem-solving bent, and greatly enjoy figuring out a solution to a problem. But life itself simply has to be lived – there is no special knowledge that will suddenly make your life wonderful. You simply have to decide life is full of wonder and go from there.
Tao is simply about how things work and how they change. That’s all. Once I understood that and stopped looking for more words to describe the feeling of Tao to me, I “got it”. I still like to understand how things work and how things change, but I no longer ask why they do – I just “get it”.