A Fire of the MindBe an explorer...read, surf the internet, visit customers, enjoy arts, watch children play...do anything to prevent yourself from becoming a prisoner of your knowledge, experience, and current view of the world.
· Charles 'Chic' Thompson (What a Great Idea)
I solemnly declare that but for love of knowledge, I should consider the life of the meanest hedger and ditcher, as preferable to that of the greatest and richest man here present: for the fire of the mind is like the fire which the Persians burn in the mountains – it flames night and day, and is immortal, and not to be quenched! . . .
Love knowledge with a great love . . .
Love that which, if you are rich and great, will sanctify the blind fortune which make you so, and make men call it justice – love that which, if you are poor, will render your poverty respectable, and make the proudest feel it unjust to laugh at the meanness of your fortunes – love that which will comfort you, adorn you, and never quit you – which will open to you the kingdom of thought, and all the boundless regions of conception, as an asylum against the cruelty, the injustice and the pain that may be your lot in the outer world – that which will make your motives habitually great and honorable, and light up in an instant a thousand noble disdains at the very thought of meanness and fraud!
Therefore, if any young man here has embarked his life in pursuit of knowledge, let him go on without doubting or fearing the event; let him not be intimidated by the cheerless beginnings of knowledge, by the darkness, from which she springs, by the difficulties which hover around her, by the wretched habitations in which she dwells, by the want and sorrow which sometimes journeys in her train; but let him ever follow her as the Angel that guards him, and as the Genius of his life. She will bring him out at last into the light of day and exhibit him to the world comprehensive in acquirements, fertile in resources, rich in imagination, strong in reasoning, prudent and powerful above his fellows, in all the relations and in all the offices of life.
- Sidney Smith
Wisdom is the right use of knowledge. To know is not to be wise. Many men know a great deal, and are all the greater fools for it. There is no fool so great a fool as a knowing fool. But to know how to use knowledge is to have wisdom.
· Charles H. Spurgeon
Life is what I make it. Your eyes view the same thing as mine, the same creation that is viewed and understood by the rich and the poor, but each individual sees what they see, and understands what they understand, differently. One may perceive beauty and gladness, while another may only witness drudgery and pain. The eye creates its own vision of the bright or dreary, the ear makes its own harmony or discord according to the individual. The world without reflects the world within.
Abraham Lincoln observed that people are just about as happy as they make up their minds to be. The mind, I believe, is happy in proportion to its fidelity and wisdom. When I am miserable, my mind will plant thorns in my path; when I grasp them and cry out in complaint, the cry is a louder confession that I put them there, I planted them myself! A good person will become good through trial and failure, all the while taking away the lesson that each failure teaches. Life and the world as I see it will become what I make of it through my social character, my desire to adapt to social conditions, my relationships and those things that I pursue while alive.
One such pursuit must therefore be knowledge, for without it life would be vastly more difficult. Acquisition of knowledge gives me the necessary tools to wrestle with daily problems. This process also provides opportunities to broaden my faith in God, in immortality, and my understanding and application of virtue as a means for the essential rectitude of my conduct. Samuel Johnson once remarked that integrity without knowledge was weak, but knowledge without integrity was dangerous and dreadful. There are greater, better things in everyone, more than the world takes account of, if we would but find them out. The gaining of knowledge is a necessary and vital step toward self-discovery and self-mastery.
William Saroyan once stated that a foolish man seeks happiness in the distance while a wise man will grow it under his feet. Knowledge may bring honor and discretion into my life, yet I must never lose sight of the very dignity of human nature, and the vast capacities and power of the soul. Locke observed that while reading furnishes the mind with the materials of knowledge, it is thinking that makes what we read ours. Knowledge and observation, along with contemplation, leads to an inner recognition of something which mirrors one of the ten manifestations of mankind’s Creator in its human form: WISDOM.
Most individuals are proud of the extent of their mental powers, but many do not perceive the intrinsic, infinite worth of their own mind, their own inner wisdom. Learning the lessons of life through wisdom are much easier and much more effective than learning them through doubt and fear, or as Gary Zukav states, it is the difference between the lower-frequency energy currents of the personality versus the higher-frequency energy currents of the soul.
Never can we, as individuals, sink so low that we lose the power to once again lift ourselves up by making use of all situations, trials and temptations as instruments to promote our virtue and happiness. Faith in this God-given power is just as necessary and valuable as instinct is to the guidance and survival of an animal. The difference that elevates us above the state of animals is that of thought and communication, especially that of contemplation of our own nature and the nature of our Creator. It is thought by which the soul reveals itself. It is the magnificent software within the processing unit lodged between my ears that wrestles with calamities and seeks God’s assistance in their solution.
Genius, and virtue by example, are easily diffused and shared among those unnumbered minds we meet in our daily experience. Wisdom is accessed through contemplation, an acquisition of knowledge and experience, and a firm dependence upon the whisperings of Spirit. When used as a gauge and filter for my words and actions, wisdom smoothes my path and lightens my load, and makes the world a bright and loving place to live.
Knowledge is a gift that I may give to another, but wisdom is a gift of the Divine. Even to the uneducated, a study of nature reveals a mighty power and a wondrous wisdom, and continually points to God. Only after learning of the earthly world may we begin to appreciate the power and majesty of the spiritual world.
Wisdom, the true fire of the mind, literally enables immortality. When Pine Bayard [(1472-1524) a French soldier and paragon of knightly virtue] was asked what inheritance a father was bound to leave his children, he replied, “He should leave them the mind that fears neither rain nor tempest, nor force of man, nor human injustice; and that is wisdom and virtue.”
According to Albert Pike, “The history of human thought is the only history that deserves much study. Thus, men are kept alive on earth by that which is invisible, and sunk to the bottom by that which is material. Time is made up of waters so thin that nothing may float thereon which is heavier than unseen truths, and treasures of the intellect and heart.”
Seek your own wisdom through knowledge; both are preferable to riches. Wisdom teaches the knowledge and understanding of God. One should, like the wise Socrates, assume the modest title of a lover of wisdom, ever longing after something more excellent than already possessed, something still beyond reach, desiring to eternally own it.