Etched in stone above the front door of the high school in my little hometown, located a stone’s throw from the Montana and Canadian borders, is a quote: "Knowledge is Power."
That phrase is hard to dispute and one that really used to impress me until I realized there’s something much more valuable than knowledge. It’s called wisdom.
That’s because, if knowledge is regular TV, wisdom is HDTV. In other words, it’s a whole different dimension. You might think of it as the difference between book smarts and street smarts.
Now, the “Knowledge is Power” phrase is historically credited to Sir Francis Bacon who was an English philosopher, statesman, scientist, jurist, orator and author who eventually became England’s attorney general and Lord Chancellor.
I’m sure Moses, Socrates, your great-grandfather and even Genghis Khan uttered a similar phrase at some point in their lives, but, for whatever reason, ole Tommy Boy gets the credit.
That’s a little like Donald Trump being credited with the phrase “Chip on your shoulder,” Aristotle Onassis being credited with “It’s all Greek to me” and Snoopy or Marmaduke being credited with “Barking up the wrong tree,” but whatever.
To prove my point about wisdom’s supremacy over knowledge, I’m going to try a little test. This test will fill your head with a whole lot of facts that fit nicely under the “knowledge” category. But you can decide whether or not having this knowledge gives you the edge over someone blessed with “wisdom.”
For example, did you know that a cockroach can live several weeks with its head cut off, or that the human thigh bone is stronger than concrete? It’s true.
In addition, there is a city called Rome on every continent except Antarctica. Also, it’s against the law to have a pet dog in Iceland. Your heart beats more than 100,000 times a day. Right-handed people live, on average, nine years longer than left-handers.
One-quarter of the bones in your body are in your feet. An elephant is the only mammal that cannot jump. Just like fingerprints, everyone’s tongue print is different. And fingernails grow nearly four times faster than toenails.
Honey does not spoil and that means the honey found in the tombs of Egyptian pharaohs is completely edible. Months that begin on a Sunday will always have a Friday the 13th. And Coca-Cola would be green if coloring wasn’t added.
The average lead pencil draws a line 35 miles long. More people are allergic to cow’s milk than any other food. Camels have three eyelids, and the placement of a donkey’s eyes enables it to see all four feet at one time.
Now, are you smarter now than you were before you read this? That’s called knowledge.
According to Mr. Dictionary, knowledge is something that is or may be known, as in information. Wisdom, on the other hand, is having knowledge of what is true or right coupled with just judgment as to proper action, discernment or insight.
In other words, if life was an army, wisdom would be the general and knowledge would be a lieutenant. It’s no contest.
So where do you gain wisdom? Through experience my friend.