Desire For Knowledge
Once upon a time I was a wine guy. That’s what we called the sommelier in the restaurant where I worked: the wine guy. As a wine guy, I would walk around the restaurant in a tuxedo and recommend wines and answer questions about wine and open wine and pour wine. It was really all about wine. My mentor was a senior wine guy named Jim Donovan, who as of this writing is still opening wine and answering questions about wine in a very popular Seattle steak house. His first and most astute piece of advice to me was this: “Your worst nightmare is the lawyer who’s just gotten his first issue of Wine Spectator. He thinks he knows everything, even though he actually knows nothing.”
How right he was. It is said that knowledge is power, which is why the lawyer reading Wine Spectator was so eager to share what knowledge he might or might not have. Everyone wants power. There is absolutely nothing wrong with this. Everyone has power. Our power, however, hardly resides in what we know – what grape is used in a Chablis; who holds the world record in the long jump; what does parsimonious mean? This is just information. It’s nothing. Anyone with Google can answer these and millions of other questions in ten seconds. What a meaningless life if our power was based on how good we are at Trivial Pursuits.
Our power, of course, resides in our ability to create. Sometimes, in order to create something, we need a little knowledge (a sand castle), or a lot of knowledge (a space station). But it’s simply a matter of degrees. What’s more, everyone is equally capable of creating anything they want. Not anything, mind you, but anything they want. In this way your desire is your power. Your desire is the fuel that drives the engine of your curiosity, the clicking in your brain seeking the means of making real that which you have only imagined. Before the knowledge that built towers, that launched rockets, that wrote books, there was always desire, the flame of life, that which made you yourself, and which makes all things.
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