Life as a Quest for Knowledge
For the true philosophers among us, the next discovery is what makes life worth living. Are you one of them?
“Share your knowledge. It is a way to achieve immortality.” — Dalai Lama
Is our purpose in life to acquire knowledge?
According to Bertrand Russell: “Science is what you know. Philosophy is what you don’t know.” In fact, the word philosophy is a combination of Greek and Latin words meaning “love of wisdom.”
As human beings, we have an inner drive to explore and create.
The acquisition of knowledge is key to such endeavors. Some see philosophy as the pursuit of knowledge for its own sake, but I would argue wisdom is the real pursuit.
Wisdom is the byproduct of applied knowledge, the trial and error of living life. It is the wheat separated from the chaff. As Lao Tse instructs: “To attain knowledge, add things everyday. To attain wisdom, remove things every day.”
Pursuit of wisdom unlocks new insights into all manner of things. Our collective wisdom produces mind-bending innovations. It unlocks secrets of the universe little by little over successive generations.
Is wisdom itself the purpose of life?
I'm quite fond of D.H. Lawrence’s take: “Life is traveling to the edge of knowledge, then a leap is taken.” There are few things as exciting in life as forging a path beyond what is presently known. In the blue sky of exploration, experimentation and leaps of faith abound.
Genuine explorers exist among us who live for the next discovery. Knowledge and wisdom is purpose for these natural born philosophers. Helen Keller’s description of knowledge as “love and light and vision” no doubt resonates with them.
For the rest of us, wisdom is the vehicle to some other purpose. It is a means to some end. Each nugget of wisdom earned draws us closer to this end purpose.
Is it some common end, or is it unique to each of us?