Friday, June 17, 2011

Quote and comment

Where is the Life we have lost in living? Where is the wisdom we have lost in knowledge? Where is the knowledge we have lost in information?
-T.S. Eliot, poet (1888-1965)
We typically think of information as the source of knowledge and knowledge as the source of wisdom. But inevitably, as we process one into the next, we reduce the complexity and variety of the source to distill the product. We discard information that seems irrelevant to the knowledge we desire, and dismiss knowledge that does not seem to support the wisdom we seek.

At any given moment, we necessarily ignore far more than we attend to. We overlook far more than we observe. In many cases, we do not suffer for the oversight. But Eliot understood the critical importance of asking what we might have lost in those unattended moments.

While we physically cannot attend to every single thing in our experience, it seems likely that we can benefit simply from considering, at any given moment, what we might have missed, and ask ourselves if knowing something different might change how we act or feel or what we think we have come to understand.

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