Very often knowledge tempts us to believe we understand more than we actually do . . . and we’re able to recognize this because wisdom allows us to be humble and intellectually honest enough to realize this limitation. This is what distinguishes wisdom from knowledge. Because knowledge, regardless of type or volume, is only capable of shaping our preexisting understanding within our given context of perception. Whereas, wisdom is able to foster discernment and insight – providing the context for our perception to take shape. I guess this is why those who are wise in their own eyes seem so clueless.
So it doesn’t matter how intelligent you are, your presuppositions will invariably be self-affirming – because what you know and how you know it doesn’t occur in a vacuum, it occurs within the construct of what you’ve already deemed to be a true perspective. And this is precisely how we allow our own understanding to convince us that we are being wise. But being truly wise is like being humble – in the moment you make the assumption that you are, is the exact moment when you’re the farthest from it. For wisdom is not proud, it makes no claims of special knowledge.
History has long been familiar with the Gnosticism of special knowledge, especially in times of cultural decline, when a vacuum of moral ambiguity has been created, only to be filled with various explanations of who is to blame and how we got here. We see this at work today, it’s what’s driving every conspiracy theory and has been metastasized in the insufferable sanctimony of the Woke crowd. And like every other gnostic before them, each one imagines itself the sole arbiter of the true perspective on what’s really going on, and what needs to be done . . . and each one has absolutely no desire to have an intellectually honest discussion about it – because time for talk is over.
Therefore, the meditative and contemplative approach of the wise is pushed aside as being inconsequential to the solution . . . if not seen as complicit with the problem. For the new Gnostics serve a moral imperative, a self-serving narrative born of their own understanding that justifies everything they say and do . . . and it must never be questioned or scrutinized. Is this not the very definition of “leaning on your own understanding” that Proverbs 3:5 juxtaposes with trusting in the Lord? Which is to say – that our own understanding will be all we are left with, when we abandon all trust in the Lord.
Yes, there’s a particular type of arrogance associated with claiming to be wise – “For although they knew God, they did not honor him as God or give thanks to him, but they became futile in their thinking, and their foolish hearts were darkened. Claiming to be wise, they became fools” ~ Romans 1:21, 22. Place your trust in the Lord, this is the wisdom of scripture and the humble confession of faith. It is the refuge for those who have the courage to seek first God’s Kingdom (Matthew 6:33), and is the foolishness of God that confounds the wisdom of this world. (1 Corinthians 1:18-31). For there can be no wisdom apart from God.
“But everything you see’s not the way it seems
Tears can sing and joy shed tears
You can take the wisdom of this world
And give it to the ones who think it all ends here.“