Essay No. 82:
A Wise Man Is A Man Who Thinks He Is A Fool: The quotation implies that a wise man does not openly brag of his wisdom. His wisdom lies in being humble in life. He wears the cloak of humbleness and refrains from openly parading his intellect. The wise man pretends that he does not know about anything. He dons himself with the tunic of humility. It is characteristic of all leading thinkers, philosophers. They do not boast of their knowledge and superiority of thought. They welcome criticism and digest it without a demur. They do not think of themselves as superior creatures.
Newton, the leading physicist is said to have remarked that while standing on the seashore of knowledge, he could not pick up more than a few pebbles. This applies to profound personalities which are not vain but meaningful. They do not suffer from intellectual arrogance. Their forte is humility. They display humbleness throughout and do not assume airs. They breathe through knowledge and wisdom but do not convey the impression of their being knowledgeable.
Socrates who laid the basis of dialecticism proclaimed “All I know is that I know nothing.” The knowledgeable running in the tradition of Socrates, pose themselves as humble. Wise people do not demonstrate their wisdom in a shallow manner.
The shallow people pose themselves as a paragon of intellect and wisdom. They demonstrate their shallowness through behaviour and talk they brag of their knowledge unnecessarily to impress others. People with skin-deep knowledge have a tendency to show outlandish behaviour. Meaningful, wise people refrain from acting in a boastful manner. The wise, the knowledgeable are like the branch of a tree laden with fruit bending downward. They don’t stand erect and walk with pride and pertness. Their strength lies in being humble in life. Empty vessels make much noise.
The Shakespearean fool is the wisest. He scatters pearls of wisdom while wearing the robe of a fool. What Shakespeare wants to convey through the creation of a fool in some of his plays is to show that a fool is capable of saying wise things which even the wisest, the sage could not think of. Hence it is the hallmark of a wise man to refrain from boasting of his wisdom openly or nakedly. The wise man would not indulge in the luxury of loose talk.
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Albert Einstein was a great scientist, whose Theory of Relativity of Time and Space brought about a revolution in the world of physics. In the last days of his life, he was a professor at Princeton University (USA). There was a small family, living near his apartment. A small girl often went to Einstein to engage him in an innocent conversation.
One day the mother of the girl noticed it. She went to Einstein and in an apologetic tone said, “I am sorry to know that my daughter disturbs you. She wastes your precious time. Please snub her when she comes to you. I will also ensure that she doesn’t bother you in future.” The reply of Einstein was rather revealing. “No, she is a source of strength to me. She comes to teach me secrets of life. She tells me the things which I can’t get from books. She is all Inspiration to me.
Please do not forbid her to visit me. She must come as usual.” Einstein regarded the small girl as a paragon of wisdom and inspiration. That is how big people think in a big way but refrain from acting in a small, shallow manner. They think they do not know anything. They are humble in life. Their posture is like that of a fool or ignorant person. They are unassuming in life.