I think I know who the wisest living person is in the world and as luck would have it, I happen to know him personally. (hint: besides Our Lord)
But I hesitate to tell you this and am even hesitant to share his name with you because:
- I don’t think you would really believe me.
- I don’t want to embarrass him.
- I don’t want to give away my sources!
But isn’t it strange that as large as the world is, and with as many people in it that there are, that even despite the gigantic odds of ever meeting this person, I would happen to have a very good relationship with him.
And what’s more, I have had the pleasure of listening to him for hours and hours and hours!
Now you might think that I am trying to make a case that I, who have had this privilege, am therefore wise.
But this is not at all what I am trying to do. No sir! Nor do I think I am particularly wiser than you (although I have a suspicion that I like Euclid more than you do.)
No…the point that I am attempting to bring out here may be summed up in the following statements:
- There are (as of today) 6.94 Billion people on the earth
- One of these is the wisest person.
- I happen to know this person!
Isn’t that extraordinary?
But of course you still disbelieve me and I think it is probably because you refuse to accept statement #2! And even if you did accept statement #2 you probably would still refuse to believe statement #3 because you would say something like
Sure there might be a wisest person, BUT how could one ever know who this was?!
So it turns out that YOU are sort of an agnostic with respect to the whole question.
Nonetheless your position really amounts to no more than because you do not know how to recognize who the wisest person is, you therefore deny the existence of the wisest person.
And that does not follow!
This reminds me of the great Heraclitus when he said,
“If you do not expect the unexpected you will never find it, for it is hard to find and inaccessible.”
In other words as with many things, if we do not have a fair idea or expectation of what the wisest person would “look like,” we would never recognize him even if we happened to live with him. (or her?)
And perhaps this is what we need to discuss. By what traits would we recognize who the wisest person is? How would we measure whether one person is wiser than another?
But I suppose you might be thinking “why bother?”
Well…it could be that your own wisdom depends on it.
It is a good question. However, you seem to overlook another important question. While I accept that you may know the wisest person in world, how many people of the 6.94 million do you know? Maybe the wisest person is among those you have never met.
Well that’s a good point. I suppose the wisest person may in fact be someone I don’t know… as humiliating as that is to admit! If I had the resources it would be nice to set off on some sort of Socratic hunt. In the mean time I guess I will have to post the requirements/characteristics that I think the wisest person would have to possess in order to recognize him!
I look forward to that post! 🙂