Wisely and Slow: Salutary Advice For Students in the New Year II

Today is an excellent day for me to post the salutary advice that I have gathered from the wisest man in the world, with whom, as I have mentioned before, I have a direct (but carefully guarded) line of communication.

Now I know that this is bound to cause jealousy, but allow me to remind you, gentle reader, that we can’t all know the wisest man in the world. It simply isn’t possible.

And why not me? Everyone deserves a lucky break in life. Some glory in their birth, some in their skill,

some in their wealth, some in the body’s force,

some in their garments though new-fangled ill;

Some in their hawks and hounds, some in their horse!

But in my case I happen to have been fortunate in the wisdom of my connections.

Now if I was the wisest man in the world, then I am quite certain I would be very proud. I would be intolerably puffed up. I would be unbearably overbearing.

But here again I have been blessed. Because the BIG advantage of knowing the wisest man is that while having access to his wisdom, one is not prone to pride because one knows that his wisdom is borrowed.

In other words I do not expect Socrates, in obedience to the oracle, to come knocking on my door testing me to see if I am wise. He will not accuse me of claiming to be something that I am not.

No, he will simply come and ask for contact information which I will gladly give him in return for all the things that he has given me.

Gentle Reader: Well let’s get on with it Langley! What is it that you would like to share?

Langley: I am getting to  it. you need to be patient. As a matter of fact, ironically, it has to do with going slow. We need to slow down sometimes.

Gentle Reader: Good grief!

Langley: Well, as I said in a previous post , there are times that we need to go wisely and slow. Seven times, as a matter of fact! And I now intend to share them with you.

Gentle Reader: Well its about time! Please just list them and spare us the usual pedantry and mindless pablum which constitutes the ordinary fare that is your specialty.

Langley: This makes me uncomfortable. I don’t think I can just give you a list. You may not understand how very wise it is and peremptorily dismiss it. That would be a shame.  Very often people refuse to think twice about something when it appears either too simple or even too profound.

Gentle Reader: Langley, just give us the list.

Langley: I don’t know if I should. After all, the list is about how we need to sometimes go wisely and slow…and I think this is precisely one of those times.

Gentle Reader: You don’t realize how close I am to clicking myself out of your trivial little blog. I have my finger on the left clicker right now,

Langley: Ok… Ok. Here is the list. But don’t blame me if you don’t understand it completely. Don’t blame me for not mentioning to you why it is appropriate that there are in fact seven times that we should go wisely and slow… and not eight for instance.  You do know that seven is a number signifying wisdom don’t you?

Gentle Reader: The list! The List!!

Langley: Very well. Here it is.

“Wisely and slow; they stumble that run fast”

Seven times that we should proceed wisely and slow in the discourse of reason:

  1. where many things must be considered before a judgment can be made
  2. where a thing is difficult to understand
  3. where there is a beginning small in size, but great in its power
  4. where there is knowledge over a road and knowledge of the road to follow
  5. where there is general knowledge and particular knowledge
  6. where there is a word equivocal by reason
  7. where there are the words of a wise man




Gentle Reader: Langley, some of these are obvious. Simple, in fact.

Langley: Yes, but what did you think wisdom was anyway? You probably think that wisdom always means saying something incomprehensible! Wisdom is often just the simple truth…

And right perfection wrongfully disgraced,
And strength by limping sway disabled
And art made tongue-tied by authority,
And folly, doctor-like, controlling skill,
And simple truth miscalled simplicity,
And captive good attending captain ill:

Gentle Reader: And #3, #4, #5 and #6 make no sense.

Langley: What? They make no sense? Why that is more than half of them! Let me try to explain.

Gentle Reader: No I haven’t the time. I need to run.

About marklangley

Presently, the founding Headmaster of Our Lady of Walsingham Academy in Colorado Springs (see www. OLWclassical.org), former headmaster and Academic Dean at The Lyceum (a school he founded in 2003, see theLyceum.org) Mark loves sacred music and Gregorian Chant and singing with his lovely wife, Stephanie, and their children.
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