Monday, September 1, 2008

To know or not to know

He who knows and knows that he knows, is a wise man- seek him.
He who knows and knows not he knows, is asleep- wake him.
He who knows not and knows he knows not, he is a child- teach him.
He who knows not and knows not he knows not- SHUN HIM.

* no need to explicitly mention that he's a fool [all related expletives], a featherbrained nincompoop [supplementary expletives], and he can commit suicide by belly flopping into the river Mula (or for that matter, any water body; Mula gets special mention because the part of Mula behind our college is just more potent as regards inviting death by multiple causes, like drowning, clawed frog injuries, automatic choking, hyacinth-strangling, etc. in order of increasing probability) *

Alright. I know I just can't resist putting random crap completely irrelevant to the point of my post. But most of the times, it's because many essentially-related-to-the-post arguments crop up in my mind just when I'm actually writing. And then it feels unfair to be writing without expounding them; it feels incomplete. So I just have to include them, you understand. No wonder I always end up with unimaginably huge posts almost every time. But atleast, not this time. No.

So, the lines above are part of a Chinese/Arabian proverb. [Multiple sources – multiple answers] Chuck the origin. Just concentrate on line 1. There are times when try as you might, you just don’t find the right words to express yourself, but you are rock-convinced that you’re correct. It feels like the peak of inexpressibility. And then, when you get the words finally, it’s a crash of delight! That was exactly what I experienced when I chanced upon this line. “He who knows and knows that he knows”. Cognizance. Awareness. Of your own capabilities. To be immensely aware of your intelligence. To be knowing that you’re capable of so very much, vis-a-vis the rest of the world around you! It feels wonderful! Heady sometimes. [I know; as I have felt those pleasurable shivers coursing through me so often :) ]
But, very subtle lines separate being aware, being outspoken, being outspoken at the right times, and being explosive. Modesty is a quality; but be too reticent, and you’ll lose a chance one too many. Be audacious enough to gather a fish-market and pounce upon any and every topic to parade your “awareness”, that’s what is colloquially termed “Attitude”. I’d like to term it, more behaviourally- Pining to be the centre of attention. It’s something on the lines of over-estimating yourself; sort of contradictory ain’t it? You get carried away by your own idea of your abilities (people actually start convincing themselves that things they’re unable to do are not worth doing! :| ) and start thinking you are incomparable. In short, you get a superiority complex. The ploy might hold temporarily, but in the end, you’ll be up for the grabs.

Being aware, and being coolly confident about it is what it’s all about. "You know that you know" should make you more humble than proud. That's real 'knowing'! Everyone has their limits. [They must. Imagine, you’re the top in everything in the world! Scary! What would you do now for the rest of your life? Sit and eat peanuts? I’d actually consider suicide :| ] And you must be aware of them too; so that you can better yourself. You have to accept and respect better talent when you meet it. Never under-estimate anyone, and never over-estimate yourself. Make sure that you do fly sky-high, but with a fully functional parachute.
In short (that is, my idea of short :) ), definitely know that you know, but also know what you don’t know; and know precisely how much you know, and let the others know that ‘know’ing in a slightly demure manner. You might be bursting to brag, but that’ll seem more like forcing others to know that you know, which defeats the purpose after all.
More practically, it might just, just, seem like a variant of case 4, whereby people might just follow the advice the mysterious Chinese/Arabians gave.