The Relation Between Learning and Wisdom
"But aren't love of learning and love of wisdom the same?" Socrates asks Glaucon in Book II of Plato's Republic. "Yes, the same," Glaucon answers. And the dialogue passes on to the next point. Today, outside utopia one might question whether these two are the same, since we so often see the one pursued in the absence of the other. In an essay of no more than 750 words, take up the problem of the relation between learning and wisdom.
For many college students, the only time the relation between learning and wisdom becomes evident is when an exam is placed before him or her, and the nature of the college experience abruptly changes from passive learning to the conveyance of that learning, under the constraints of time, pressure, and the endurance of the muscles in the hand. There is, however, an alternative to passive learning, one that many students shy away from out of fear of embarrassment or scorn, and, to be truthful, out of sloth. These students attend college without purpose, without direction, and with only a vague notion of what they truly possess a passion for. They attend class and that is all. When the class proceeds, they do not speak, they do not question, they simply exist, as stones do, and listen in rock-like silence. And they learn. In the most painful, difficult way possible, they learn.
For others, the learning proceeds a different way. These students are interested, prepared, and vocal. They come to class not to obtain some elusive 5% of the grade doled out on the basis of attendance but rather to question and to probe. They take what is presented to them and mentally polish and refine it, continually molding it, never satisfied with simply accepting what they are told. These students absorb knowledge, taking what is learned deep in to trier very being, never letting anything remain superficial. They ask questions, they bring forth points previously unexplored they add something in return for all they are taking. In doing so, not only do they learn more, they also begin the arduous and rewarding process of attaining wisdom.
In my scholarship here at Boston University, I have seen each of these methods of learning in action, and have duly noted which course is best followed. Learning, I have found, arises most from the interaction between...