What does it mean for a man to be “wise?”
What does it take for a man to be “honest?”
True, most of us think that we are basically honest. And most of us do not believe ourselves to be fools. We believe that we are prudent, careful, responsible adults. And we believe that, as our basic moral principles tell us, it is good to tell the truth. So we do, at least most of the time.
However, we know, deep down, that as honest as we may believe ourselves to be with others, it is with ourselves that honest often becomes most difficult.
That is why I find these words from one of the history’s great teachers so fascinating. Because it is not thinking of ourselves as “wise” that makes us wise. And it is not imagining ourselves to be “learned” that makes us knowledgable. And it is not looking at ourselves as “grown up” that makes us role models.
Rather, the wise man knows that he is, at his best, still a fool. An educated man keeps learning because he knows there is an ocean of knowledge he does not have. And the man who stands tallest among us got that way because he never lost his childlike wonder for the world.
What if, rather than starting with what we do know, and what we can do already, and what problems we can solve, we instead started with what we have yet to learn? There might just be some wonder left in the world.