Experience, Wisdom, and Knowledge
For each person, life is more than being born, going to school, raising a family, working hard to make a living, and getting to old age to complete the cycle. Life is also an emotional and spiritual journey filled with twists and turns like an obstacle course that is forced upon each unsuspecting person. As each person feels the ways to this maze of life, some will meet successes, some will face disappointments, some will be stricken by tragedies, some will be blessed with good fortunes, etc... In the end as each person exits this maze of life, some will be glad that a life of hardships is finally over, some will be remembered for their deeds for time immemorial, some will share their life experiences with the others, some will pass their wisdoms on life to the future generations, and some will translate their insights on life into knowledge to benefit mankind.
Everyone knows how valuable certain experience can be when seeking for a job. But, more often than not, most of the people have no control as to what experience they will gain through life. The best they can do is to face and solve the obstacles that life presents. Most of these obstacles are more or less the same – illness, accident, injury, disappointment, treachery, etc... However, due to the individual’s characters and circumstances, each person will have different experience on life in the end.
1) A medical doctor who spends half of the lifetime treating patients,
2) A countryside farmer who toils the earth under all weather conditions,
3) A career law breaker who cannot fit into the social orders,
4) A person who has to endure constant ridicules and prejudices due to physical traits, etc...
will all live through a life with unique experiences that they claim can happen to no one else. Some will share their joyful or uncommon experiences with their friends in conversations. Some will prefer to bury their painful or embarrassing experiences in their psyche. Some will even spend their twilights regretting their certain choices in the past in order to have a different experience. But, most will come to term with their life experiences as they understand that they had done based on what were available under the circumstances. Experience shapes and enriches a person’s life. Through it, people can also understand what life is all about.
Wisdom is insight, reflection, and lesson learned of people’s life-long experience. Wisdom is usually ideas passed down from the past generations. People find these ideas helpful in avoiding the pitfalls and unnecessary sufferings as they venture through life. Ideas like:
1) The early bird gets the worms; the second mouse gets the cheese.
2) There are straight trees in the forest; there is no straight person in the world.
3) A rolling stone gathers no moss; a person who does not settle in one place rarely prospers.
4) Speech is silver; silence is golden.
5) Treat the others the way you want to be treated.
All these word of wisdom were good advices in the past, are good advices in the present, and will more likely be good advices in the future.
Knowledge builds civilization and experience breeds knowledge. While wisdom helps people to avoid pitfalls in life, knowledge prepares people to survive in a civilized society. As the human society evolved from hunting to farming, from farming to manufacturing, from manufacturing to servicing, the knowledge accumulated from each transition has also exploded in quantity and quality, complexity and complication, and in specialty and generality. An average human needs to receive 6 years of education to get the basic knowledge of language and behaviors acceptable in the society, 9 years of education to get the proper knowledge to make a living in farming, 12 years of education to get the necessary knowledge to work in the factory, and 16 years of education to get the specialized knowledge to be a professional in the society. 4 more years of education, the person becomes a scholar only in a specialized field of the seemingly bottomless knowledge. With knowledge, the humans will be able to manage Earth’s resources intelligently, to keep their population in check, and to understand their roles in life.
Needless to say, people today live a totally different life style than people of 100 years ago. With wisdom and knowledge, people’s experience in life will be smoother and less traumatic. People will have more times at leisure, creativity, and soul searching. People know that their life on Earth from birth, childhood, adulthood, old age, and to death is a one way journey of no return. No one knows how and when the journey will end. But, everyone knows instinctively that the best choice is to follow the beaten path and play the games lay out in front to the best ability. Times have changed, surroundings are different, more wisdom and knowledge are at disposal, but, the games that life plays on humans are still the same.