For Confucius, true wisdom is to know the extent of what you don’t know quite as well as you know what you do know. – Gore Vidal, Creation
We are not going to spend too much time fawning over Gore Vidal. A regular contributor to the Thought for the Day, Vidal is, for our money, unsurpassed at doing what you pay us writers to do: provide insights into our human experience. As a book, Creation does this better than any book we’ve ever read and it’s not even close.
(Author’s Note: We’ve read Creation several times. Each time we added new entries into our personal quote book, however on the last reading we added over 90 new quotes, almost as many was garnered through all previous readings.)
We can’t know everything. We ought to try to know what we should know, and we should definitely know what we want to know. However, we must realize there are some, in fact many, things that will simply be beyond our interest or capacity to know. This could range from something as mundane as why the darned vacuum cleaner isn’t working to something as profound as whether or not there is a supreme being guiding our affairs.
It’s useful to know what you don’t know because armed with this knowledge we are liberated to either go and find it out or, equally beneficial, to stop worrying about it.
Today’s Thought is especially relevant regarding ourselves.
Know thyself is a maxim attributed to a variety of ancient Greeks and may well be the two most useful words us humans have ever mustered. We are not going to get the most out of our time on this planet unless we know ourselves: our ambitions, our talents and our limitations. We must know what we are capable of doing and, equally important, what we are not capable of doing. When we know this we can spend our times on things we do well and that interest us while not wasting time on things we have no interest in or talent for.
Knowing our talents and our limits puts us in the best possible position to make our time serve us.
It pays to stick to our strengths. When we do this, when we live a life guided by our hearts and our instincts, are we doing ourselves and our fellow citizens the most good. We are getting the most out of our time on this planet, life’s great prize.
The Thought for the Day runs from time to time here. All selections are from Gaylon’s personal quote book and all commentary is based on his personal experience. Your mileage may vary.