This life, with its myriads of possibilities, allows us to choose whatever we deem better for ourselves. And whatever choice we make is based on our personal beliefs, notions, values, religious and societal adhering, instinctual behaviors and attitudes and prioritized desires. These phenomena collectively drive our choices. Some want power, some want authority, some wealth, some knowledge, some happiness, some contentment, some love, some attention. Everyone wants something. Something that is of value to that particular someone.
No one in the right mind would dictate anyone rather than his own self to choose as per his own preferences. Everybody is free to choose. But the question is how and what to choose? I might not know the answers to these questions as I’m not fully equipped myself to answer effectively. One thing that I must and should do before making a choice is to make a critical analysis of all the options available and then jump in for the best suited one. Except for love. Matters of the heart should be best left to the heart than the brain.
If we analyze the choice to opt for material wealth, we might come to know about the pretext of making such a choice. Man wants what he doesn’t have and craves for the most. For many in this world, wealth is a dream as money can buy anything, well almost anything. Its wealth that makes a real difference these days as we’re living in a hyper-materialistic world in which though money can’t buy happiness, it sure can buy us a lot of things that can grant us happiness, though temporal. Wealth puts us on a pedestal from where we look up to most things with ease as wealth confers power and authority on its occupants. Hell! if it wouldn’t have been for the money, I wouldn’t be investing time and energy writing this article! But anyhow.
Isn’t it a fact that wealth and the material craving that comes along with it, is all due to the unrelenting greed that every man possesses? Give a man a gold mountain and he’ll surely desire for another. To another revelatory part, wealth and honor are conferred upon us by the Allah Almighty. They’re test of our feeble natures. The wealthy man may tomorrow be a beggar or a helpless invalid because it’s not up to him to control the flow of material wealth in his vast chambers and vaults. It’s up to the Allah Almighty, so I would rather not opt for such thing that first of all I would have no control on and secondly would make me a hopeless addict of gaining more and more rather than giving. Also, material wealth can never make a person acquire contentment because isn’t that what we all are actually looking for?
Next comes opting for knowledge and a genius intellect. The human mind is a vast, limitless and programmable chamber of the body that governs all its functions. It is this mind that controls every one of our movements and utterances. It’s a highly intelligent creation that gives us the ability to learn and adapt. Knowledge is all the useful information that helps us in making intelligent choices in our lives. Because after all, life is a multiple-choice question paper. Many a people would desire for a genius intellect and limitless knowledge so they can make the best choices in this world. The desire to lead perfect lives, the desire for perfection is what incentivizes people to aspire for things they pre-suppose or suppose or imagine will make their imperfect lives perfect. well good luck with it!
Knowledge, if I may put it this way, is a curse. It makes one ignorant rather than smart and intelligent. It is perhaps one of the greatest ironies of this world that knowledge, more and more, makes one really ignorant. It makes one forget his/her limitations. It is conceited and prideful and makes arrogance the new true inspiration in life. it doesn’t pause and think. It is a rocket on a launch-pad always ready to be fired. I would certainly not hope just for knowledge because I know that excess of everything is bad.
So, what would I choose? I would rather opt for “Wisdom” instead of both “wealth” and “knowledge”. Because wisdom gives us the ability to think. The ability to contemplate on this world and comprehend it in the true sense. It is wisdom that makes one humble. It makes us knowledgeable of our limitations and ignorance. It doesn’t instill arrogance and pride in us, rather makes us cognizant of the very ephemeral nature of the human race and its very limited capabilities and capacities to achieve greatness. Socrates, one of the wisest and often most revered the intellectual world has ever seen used to remark that “there’s only one thing that I know of and that is that I know nothing”. It was Socrates’ wisdom and not his knowledge that made him commit to such humble instance. The famous literary poet Lord Alfred Tennyson drew a fine distinction between knowledge and wisdom when he described knowledge as “earthly” and wisdom as “heavenly”.
For she is earthly of the mind,
And wisdom heavenly of the soul.If too much wealth corrupts the soul, too much reading is weariness of the flesh then, excessive knowledge is tyranny of the mind. Wisdom is in fact flowering of the spirit and wisdom instills intelligence. Intelligence is not a quick wit or sarcasm. It is rather the ability to be adjustable in every instance of life as life so demands. Wisdom then explicates that a wise man is he who is ever conscious of the limitations of the mind and walks cautiously on the pathway to reality.
In the end, I would simply propound that being wise makes man cognizant of his own self and whosoever knows his own self, knows everything he/she needs to know. Being wise is being content with life and knowing that man is earthly, not divine. Man can only transcend certain boundaries and that certain efforts always remain futile. Being wise is being human and being human is being wise. So, wisdom is what man should choose over earthly things, because what’s earthly is ephemeral and what’s divine is permanent.