Bob Tamasy: One Thing The Internet Can’t Teach Us

Monday, August 4, 2014 - by Bob Tamasy
Bob Tamasy
Bob Tamasy

I never cease to marvel over the vast and ever-growing storehouse of knowledge the Internet offers to us. Years ago, when doing research for a book or an article, I’d usually jump in the car and drive to the nearest library. I have nothing against libraries – they’re fun places to visit – but thanks to the Internet I haven’t needed to go to a library for information in several years.

Just about anything we could think can be found on the Internet: biographies, famous quotations, recipes, summaries of books and films, health information, do-it-yourself tips (not that I’d have any interest in those), sports statistics, weather forecasts, phone numbers, map and directions. You name it, it’s there.



My wife and I recently marked our 40th anniversary, so out of curiosity I looked up the year 1974 on the Internet to see what was going on then – it was too long ago to remember! I found out Richard Nixon was in the midst of the Watergate scandal; 24-hour a day radio news coverage was just starting; “Happy Days” was beginning its 11-year TV run; Peter Benchley’s book, Jaws, was published; Barbra Streisand was singing “The Way We Were”; and somebody named Woody Hayes was coaching the Ohio State football team.

You can find anything you need to learn online. That is, almost anything. One thing you can’t learn from the Internet is wisdom.

True, you can learn the definition of wisdom. The one I like best is: “the ability or result of an ability to think and act utilizing knowledge, experience, understanding, common sense, and insight.” Another defines wisdom as “the soundness of an action or decision with regard to the application of experience, knowledge, and good judgment.”

We can even find out what other people have said about wisdom. I never thought of the late great rock guitarist and vocalist Jimi Hendrix as a fount of wisdom, but he observed, “Knowledge speaks, but wisdom listens.” Must have come from one of his more elucidating LSD moments.

Author Aldous Huxley asserted, “Experience is not what happens to you; it's what you do with what happens to you.” There’s considerable wisdom in that recognition. Sounds like the voice of experience.

Philosopher Socrates once stated, “The only true wisdom is in knowing you know nothing.” I wouldn’t go that far, but it’s occurred to me that the older you get and the more you think you know, the more you discover you don’t know yet.

Revered Chinese philosopher Confucius pointed to the reality of wisdom’s attainment when he said, “By three methods we may learn wisdom: First, by reflection, which is noblest; second, by imitation, which is easiest; and third by experience, which is the bitterest.”

President Calvin Coolidge gave a similar view when he commented, “Knowledge comes, but wisdom lingers. It may not be difficult to store up in the mind a vast quantity of facts within a comparatively short time, but the ability to form judgments requires the severe discipline of hard work and the tempering heat of experience and maturity.”

The Internet truly is a bottomless well for information and knowledge, and we can learn a lot about wisdom, but you’ll never gain wisdom solely through mental exercise. It is, as Huxley commented, what you do with what you get. And there’s no substitute for time and experience.

But there’s one more source of wisdom we too often disregard entirely. The Scriptures tell us where to find it: “The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge, but fools despise wisdom and instruction” (Proverbs 1:7).

James 1:5 says wisdom can be ours just for the asking: “If any of you lacks wisdom, he should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to him.” But there’s a caveat to such requesting, as the next verse points out. “But when he asks, he must believe and not doubt, because he who doubts is like a wave of the sea, blown and tossed by the wind” (James 1:6).

Later in the book it states, “The wisdom that comes from heaven if first of all pure; then peace-loving, considerate, submissive, full of mercy and good fruit, impartial and sincere” (James 3:17). That sounds like something worth having.

True, much of wisdom comes through the everyday grind of life’s hard knocks. As someone as said, the way to get wisdom is through experience, and the way to gain good experience is by making mistakes and having bad experiences. But if we can tap into the wisdom of God, maybe we can avoid having to endure some of those bad experiences brought about by foolish mistakes. I’ve already made more than my share of those!

* * * 

Robert J. Tamasy is a veteran journalist, a former newspaper editor and magazine editor. He is presently vice president of communications for Leaders Legacy, Inc., a non-profit focused on mentoring and coaching business and professional leaders. Bob has written hundreds of magazine articles, and has authored, co-authored and edited more than 15 books. These include “Tufting Legacies,” “The Heart of Mentoring,” “Business at Its Best,” and “Pursuing Life With a Shepherd’s Heart.” He edits a weekly business meditation, “Monday Manna,” which is translated into more than 20 languages and distributed via email around the world by CBMC International. He also posts regularly on two blogs, www.bobtamasy.blogspot.com, and www.bobtamasy.wordpress.com. He can be emailed at btamasy@comcast.net.

Interfaith Panel Of Chattanooga To Make Presentation On April 4

The Interfaith Panel of Chattanooga will make its next presentation at  7 p.m. on   Tuesday, April 4,  at Christ United Methodist Church; 8645 E. Brainerd Road.    Panelists and their faith communities are Nur Sisworahardjo, Islam; Sush Shantha, Hinduism; Tad Beaty, Atheism; Michael Dzik, Judaism; and Steve Bovell, Christianity.  Charles ... (click for more)

Pre-Mother's Day Luncheon Is May 6 At Antioch Missionary Baptist Church

Antioch Missionary Baptist Church, 901 G.W. Davis Dr., will sponsor a Pre-Mother's Day Luncheon, "Daughters of the King" on Saturday, May 6, from 11 a.m.-2 p.m.  Guest speaker will be Mrs Evelyn Braxton, mother of the Braxtons. Donation is $15, with proceeds to benefit the youth ministry.  For tickets or more information, contact Pat Shackleford-Gray at 423-227-4883 ... (click for more)

State Says "Beef" Between 2 Bloods Gangs Started Over A Female And Led Eventually To Shootings At College Hill Courts

The state presented testimony on Monday about a feud between two Bloods gangs that allegedly eventually led to a 16-year-old shooting up a unit at College Hill Courts - killing one woman, injuring another, leaving a child paralyzed and injuring a member of the other Bloods gang. A city police gang expert said the bitter rift between the Athens Park Bloods based on the Southside ... (click for more)

Search On For Chad Cook, Missing Since Early Monday Morning After Going Dirt Bike Riding On Walden's Ridge

Walden's Ridge Emergency Services has been assisting the Sequatchie County Sheriff's Office searching for a missing person from Hamilton County since 10:30 a.m. Monday. Chad Cook, 38, was last heard from by family members at 2 a.m. Monday. Family members reported to Sequatchie County Sheriff's Office personnel around 2 a.m. that he, along with two males and one female, were ... (click for more)

Slaxxon Regret - And Response

Back in the seventies my three oldest brothers had a buddy named Steve Slack. “Slack” was a star soccer player at Baylor and he grew up on Lookout Mountain, which is where I grew up. He and Jimmy, Henry and Bill went to the University of Virginia where they were roommates in an old, beat up house that was painted pink. Naturally, the place became known as the “Pink Palace” but lest ... (click for more)

Roy Exum: Oh Yes, I Loved West

One of my most beloved friends died early Saturday morning at the age of 67. Then again, West Oehmig’s only brother – King – died a couple of years ago at 63 so it wasn’t by happenstance I remembered Abraham Lincoln’s famous line: “In the end, it’s not the years in your life that count, it’s the life in your years.” Here are two brothers who lived larger than any other pair I can ... (click for more)