The Process of Knowing

The Process of Knowing

For those who love wisdom and who are out seeking knowledge, nothing is more frustrating than "too much information". The Internet amplifies that frustration. In an attributed quote, Christian mystic St. Bernard of Clairvaux said:
  • There are those who seek knowledge for the sake of knowledge; that is Curiosity.
  • There are those who seek knowledge to be known by others; that is Vanity.
  • There are those who seek knowledge in order to serve; that is Love.
Although that is a neat summary of the different reasons we seek knowledge, it says little about the "process of knowing", especially our frustration with "too much information". Knowledge leading to wisdom is not one, but two processes. This was recognized in the Tao Te Ching 2,600 years ago. Chapter 48, one of the most important in the text, clarifies it for us:
  • In the pursuit of learning, every day something is acquired.
  • In the pursuit of Tao, every day something is dropped.
The second process is, purging, eliminating, cleansing and purifying until you are left with nothing but The Truth; Not some version of The Truth, not some reducted depiction of The Truth, and definitely not a caricature of The Truth. You can never reach The Tao, but you can get closer.
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