What a HUGE temptation to be self-satisfied as we acquire knowledge.
We soon secure a kind of confidence (or inflation) when we know things others don’t. Too little does our increased knowledge humble us as we recognize all the many things we do not know.
Our opinion of ourselves may intensify and improve, despite not using our gain for the benefit of others. It’s a strange irony. And I’ll bet it’s far easier to see this in others than in ourselves. What do you think?
It reminds me of the fish you see here. The porcupine fish (often confused for the pufferfish) have the ability to inflate their body by ingesting water or air, and swelling up. At 2 times their size vertically, they try to avoid death by scaring off smaller-mouthed predators. Their pointy spines, distend outwards when the fish is inflated, and some species are poisonous. A tetrodotoxin resdies in their internal organs, such as the ovaries and liver. This neurotoxin is at least 1200 times more potent than cyanide (from wikipedia).
One downside to furthering education is the routine bypass of true humility once some comprehension has been achieved. Knowledge ends there, perhaps. We like it because it helps us somehow comfort ourselves. It gets ingrown and fetid. Too often it is used to showoff, or deflect others when we are threatened, or to feel superior inwardly. Too often it is not united to wisdom, which should be our true goal. In wisdom, knowledge and maturity converge to bless others. Wisdom helps our knowledge to give back, and reproduce goodness in kind.
Knowledge without mindful experience won’t produce wisdom. A wise one is continually teachable, and can learn from any other person. A solely knowledgeable person compares themselves to others, and feels confident or insecure depending on who they are stacked against.
It’s not that education, knowledge, and learning is negative, on its own. It is the way we use our new understanding and expertise that is the issue of greatest import.
Paraphrase of I Corinthians 13:2b. “…If I can comprehend all mysteries and all knowledge, and even possess mountain-moving faith, but disregard love, I am of no good use.”
I have to keep a close watch that my knowledge does not trap me into a foolish corner where wisdom cannot be found. I have to be mindful that I bless and not oppress others through gained knowledge. My God grant me his grace and nature to do it.
Who in your life has impressed you with his or her humility coupled with knowledge?
For me, I find Jesus a great example here. Also some of my learned professors have had incredible humility coupled with awing intelligence and academic achievement. It is a beautiful display of the Fruit of the Spirit.
How do you struggle with this, at times?
What helps you keep in-check?