- Dr. Andrew St. Bernard, D.C.
I firmly believe that knowledge and wisdom is only useful when shared. That is of course unless you plan on solving all the world’s problems on your own, AND implement an unbreakable feedback loop that will perpetuate the solution! Clearly I’m being facetious here, but seriously though, knowledge and wisdom by nature is meant to be passed on, not just for the betterment of our generation, but for generations to come.
So this presents me with a question I have struggled with - when is the right time to disseminate and disperse that new found knowledge? This reminds me of a story I heard in which an overweight child was taken to see a wise man in a village for help. The mother of the child asked the wise man how her son could lose weight, and the wise man said to her, “Come back in a month, and I will tell you the answer”. The mother thought this request was odd, but decided to follow through with it anyway. A month passed, and she returned, asking for the solution. The wise man then told her, “He needs to eat less and workout more”. The mother was irate and couldn’t believe that he made her wait a month just to hear such simple advice. The wise man told her, “Before I could give him advice like that, I needed to first put it into practice myself.”
Although it may appear to be self-evident that one must first possess knowledge before it can be given, I wasn’t satisfied with that alone. How does this apply to more urgent matters? If the information in question is potentially lifesaving, but fails to be passed on because the bearer has not yet mastered it themselves?
Questions like these cause me to add a caveat to the story above. It is about risk to benefit ratio. Does the risk outweigh the benefits? If so, then sharing such information could be damaging to your reputation. Otherwise, if the benefits outweigh the risks (and I believe when it comes to knowledge, this is the vast majority of cases), it would be a sin NOT to share it with someone else.
So when it comes to a good word, or something you learned that you think could help someone else, pass it on. Your intension is not only important - it matters!