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

Monday, August 04, 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.

Abba's House Honors Pastor For 35 Years Of Service

Abba’s House (Central Baptist Church of Hixson) will honor Senior Pastor Ron Phillips and his wife, Paulette, for 35 years of service on Sunday, Nov. 9 . Dr. Ron Phillips was called as the pastor of Central Baptist in September 1979 from the East Gadsden Baptist Church in Gadsden, AL. Under his leadership, the church entered a new era of growth and expansion. In addition to ... (click for more)

Thankful Missionary Baptist Honors Pianist Michelle Johnson Flanagan For 15 Years Of Faithful Service

Thankful Missionary Baptist Church is hosting an Appreciation Day for its pianist, Sister Michelle Johnson Flanagan.  The Appreciation will be held on Sunday, Nov. 9, at 4 p.m. at the church located at 980 North Orchard Knob Ave. Guest choirs from Union Grove Baptist Church and Trinity Baptist Church will take part in the celebration, as well as Thankful’s Male Chorus ... (click for more)

Downtown Chattanooga Apartment Complex That Brought $3 Million Profit Exempt From Most Taxes Until 2022 Under PILOT

A downtown Chattanooga apartment complex that recently was sold at a $3 million profit is exempt from most property taxes through 2022 under a PILOT (payment in lieu of taxes) agreement.   No payment of school taxes was included in the deal for Walnut Commons at Walnut Street and Aquarium Way.   The only taxes due on the property for the next eight ... (click for more)

Cold, Wet Front To Make For Chilly And Damp Trick Or Treating; Snow Showers Possible Saturday

A surge of cold, moist air will make for less-than-ideal trick or treat conditions on Halloween night. Temperatures are expected to dip below freezing this weekend. There is a possibility of snow showers in Chattanooga on Saturday. Here is the latest forecast: Today Showers likely, mainly after 5pm. Mostly cloudy, with a high near 58. Calm wind becoming northwest ... (click for more)

Thanks For Publishing The Stokes Photo Book

I pre-ordered the Stokes Photo Book and picked it up Wednesday . The covers and content are very high quality and contain photos you will not see anywhere else.  This book of photos is worth much more than $35.  I have seen many historic photos of my hometown Chattanooga, but this collection is amazing. My favorites are National Cemetery, Confederate Cemetery near ... (click for more)

Roy Exum: Saban: ‘Ratings Don’t Matter’

When the first College Football Playoff rankings were released earlier this week, Alabama football coach Nick Saban got it right on the button when he shrugged, “I don't even care, to be honest with you." "To me, none of it matters, What does it matter?” he laughed at the Tide’s No. 6 ranking. “I mean, it only matters where you end up at the end. So what matters to us is how ... (click for more)