Tao Te Ching, Verse 47
“Without opening your door,
you can open your heart to the world.
Without looking out your window,
you can see the essence of the Tao.
The more you know,
the less you understand.
The Master arrives without leaving,
sees the light without looking,
achieves without doing a thing.”
Tao Te Ching, Verse 47, Stephen Mitchell Translation
Sometimes, I think the Tao Te Ching is just describing various ways of accessing one’s right brain or spirit.
Even in Christianity, there is a monastic streak that emphasizes not leaving one’s cell (or residence) to find satisfaction or wisdom. The idea is the same: whatever cannot be found here and now will not likely be found later or elsewhere.
“The more you know, the less you understand” is very true. Intellect is not a substitute for common sense. My theory is that everyone has so many brain cells and the more formal education you have, the fewer cells you have for, say, social skills.
Worse yet, the more educated you get, the more likely your knowledge is to be specialized. You become the world’s foremost expert on some obscure sub-realm of knowledge that most people have never heard of.
Another facet of understanding less with more knowledge comes from an attitude of having “paid one’s dues.” Some of the laziest people I have ever met were PhDs. It is as if they don’t feel any expectations are allowed to be placed upon them.
So we end up with a hurting world. The only people with the knowledge to possibly fix things are simply too lazy to do so. Desperate, uneducated people often come up with the best solutions because they haven’t been educated out of having common sense yet and they are humble enough to learn from their errors. Their efforts could be multiplied exponentially by someone with real technical knowledge, but those people have massive student loans to pay off and literally cannot afford to donate their time to non-profits.
Wisdom and knowledge seem to seldom be found together and the world needs both.