Principles over Knowledge Any Day

“Beware; making many books has no end, and studying much is a weariness of the flesh.” Ecclesiastes 12:12 Translation:

Nowhere is this more evident than on the internet.   Content creators just keep on creating.   New television shows on more stations, producing more and more content, on and on.   How much is wisdom over knowledge?   How much is principles over details?   How many options for diversion from reality?  A small amount of that is valuable art, but it is a very small amount as it always has been.  

The structures that exist in society largely don’t change.   The principles of wisdom have been with us for ages untold.  Yet, the value in the evolution of society is that there is always an opportunity to use what exists in the moment to teach wisdom, through analogy and parable.

And what about health and medicine?   It does progress and detail is important, for the experts, but often times you will find studies done that have the wrong premise to them, that there was a lack of wisdom in their construction.   It takes the real wise scientists to formulate general principles from the detailed knowledge that is published and to design studies where the right questions have been asked.

In my internship in Internal Medicine at Robert Wood Johnson Hospital and Princeton Hospital, we had several senior residents and attending physicians that had photographic memories.   It was astounding to interact with someone who could tell you the page in Harrison’s Textbook of Medicine that he just recited almost word for word pertaining to the diagnosis of the patient in front of us.   These doctors were, however, not the best doctors.  The best doctors were the one that could “see the forest for the trees” and would often have to look up details and supporting information.

In terms of your health, I often encounter people on my phone consultations that know much knowledge but lack wisdom in applying the knowledge in a balanced way to their health.   Often times, just using an analogy can bring many aha moments that put things into perspective.   The answer is rarely found by acquiring more knowledge. Knowing much is easy, it just takes time, acquiring wisdom and understanding principles comes through real toil.  

Details can be interesting, can be fun, but often times become distractions for learning what really matters in health which in its simplest description is learning the art of balance. 

Image above from the British Museum: in the public domain.