Telling Wisdom from Knowledge

A thought-provoking discussion on reddit. 
I am against  polemic dogmatism, a.k.a. ‘blind certainty, a close-mindedness that amounts to an imprisonment so total that the prisoner doesn’t even know he’s locked up’ (Wallace, David Foster. “This Is Water.” Address. 2005 Kenyon Commencement). 
Excerpt from what is perhaps Herman Hesse’s most profound and popular work-

“I’m not joking; I’m telling you what I’ve found. Knowledge can be transferred, but not wisdom. It can be found and lived, and it is possible to be carried by it. Miracles can be performed with it, but it can’t be expressed and taught with words. This was what I sometimes suspected even as a young man, and what has driven me away from teachers. I have found another thought, Govinda, that you’ll also regard as foolishness or a joke, but which is my best thought. It says: the opposite of every truth is just as true! That is to say, any truth can only be expressed and put into words when it is one-sided. Everything that can be thought with the mind and said with words is one-sided, it’s all just the half of it, lacking completeness, roundness, or unity. When the exalted Gotama spoke his teachings about the world, he had to divide it into Samsara and Nirvana, deception and truth, suffering and salvation. It can’t be done any differently, and there is no other way for the person who wants to teach. But the world itself that exists around us and inside of us is never one-sided. A person or an action is never entirely Samsara or Nirvana, and a person is never completely holy or sinful. It really seems like this, of course, because we are subject to the deception that time is something real. Time is not real, Govinda; I have experienced this many times over. And if time is not real, then the divide which seems to separate the world from eternity, suffering from bliss, and evil from good, is also a deception.”

– Siddhartha, Herman Hesse.


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