26. Proust : we do not receive wisdom, we must discover it -------------- Previous - Next - Contents
Olivier Philipponnat & Patrick Lienhardt (who discovered the original Fire in the Blood manuscript) state in their Foreword to the book that Irène Némirovsky was greatly inspired for 'Fire in the Blood' after rereading these "marvelous words" by Marcel Proust in his book Within a Budding Grove ("A l'ombre des jeunes filles en fleur"). "They seemed to express to perfection the subject that preoccupied her" :
I too find this a wonderfully creative and inspiring description of wisdom and can strongly identify with it. In fact it largely overlaps what I in this Blog have called awareness. It does not come to you, you have to go out and search for it, struggle and decide what is true and what is false.
The online Wikipedia Encyclopedia contains another gem of a definition for 'wisdom'. It states :
This definition clearly links wisdom and knowledge together in a kind of mental production chain. Knowledge and experience are the "fuel" that drives the "verhicle" (philosophical method) to its ultimate "destination" : wisdom. What this wisdom amounts to is of course entirely up to you, as unique individual, because it is you who gathers the fuel and who drives the vehicle.
Philosophy (as defined in the Wikipedia Encyclopedia) is the study of general problems concerning matters such as existence, knowledge, truth, beauty, justice, validity, mind, and language. Philosophy is distinguished from other ways of addressing these questions by its critical, generally systematic approach and its reliance on reasoned argument.
My Concise Oxford Dictionary contains several definitions of the word. Here is the first and most specific one, which subtly hints at a kind of split which has opened up (over the past 200 years or so ?) between traditional philosophy and the philosophy of the natural sciences. Here it is :
especially that which deals with ultimate reality.
The word "or" above suggests that there are two separate routes that can lead to that "ultimate reality". One through general philosophy (based on general knowledge, experience and reason), the other through the search, analysis and discoveries in the fields of the natural sciences.
When I studied and graduated in Geology we were (together with
the other natural sciences like biology, physics, chemistry, astronomy)
part of the Faculty of Philosophy at Leiden University.
It are (I believe) therefore the natural
sciences that are providing the "super fuel" which
slowly but inevitably will power the philosophy "vehicle"
closer towards its so elusive destination : a maturing wisdom and understanding of the true "ultimate
Copyright © 2010 Michael Furstner