If you travel northwest from Athens, on the road to Corinth, you will come to the ruins of the once great city of Delphi. Delphi is the place once thought by the Greeks to be the center of the world. Here, in the 6th century B.C., the Oracle in the Temple of Apollo, was at its busiest, as it was called upon to dispense wisdom and to give answers to some of the pressing questions of the day. But, the Oracle of the classical world was silent before the age old questions like Who am I ? Why am I here ? What should I be doing? and Where am I going ?
From the beginning of time man has been trying to make sense of himself and his world. He has been seeking understanding. But as time marches on, man isn’t getting the understanding he seeks, he isn’t happier, and he hasn’t been able to conquer his own nature. What’s wrong? With all the great minds and thinking that have gone before us, with all the lessons of history left for us to examine, it is difficult to imagine why we aren’t further along than we are.
Why are we asking the same questions in our search for meaning, the Greeks were asking 2600 years ago. Do we not yet have enough information available to us? We now live in a world where we are inundated with more information, on a daily basis, than we can possibly process. It is an over-communicated environment. There are so many unwanted messages bombarding us, that often the ones we want get lost in the noise. The average person can now communicate faster, with more people—without thinking—than ever before. Information has become disposable. It doesn’t matter whether you are connected to the Internet or not.
We get hit with it at every turn. At work. At home as we try to relax. And at all points in between. So what about it? What are we doing with this information? Is all this information really doing us any good? Are we living happier lives? Are we experiencing fewer problems? Are our decisions better? Are we any wiser? History tells us that we haven’t learned much in spite of all we know. The situation changes, but the problems remain the same. Clearly, we need to do something better with all of this information. T.S. Eliot posed the question: “Where is the wisdom we have lost in knowledge? Where is the knowledge we have lost in information?”
In a day and age where the number one shows are sitcoms and we commonly find best sellers written by those on the fringe of society, we are clearly in need of better thinking. We need wisdom.
(C) Foundations Magazine