After an argument the Jew paid the five cents and went on. In the afternoon he came back again, but this time he had the donkey sitting on the seat and he was dragging the cart himself.
The toll man came out and said, “Here you know you’ve got to pay five cents.”
The Jew shook his head, and pointing to the donkey said, “Don’t talk with me – ask the driver.”
The pundit, the scholar, the academician, is just like a donkey sitting in a cart pretending to be the driver. He is not a driver; he knows nothing. Although he has gathered much knowledge, still he knows nothing.
Knowing is a totally different phenomenon than knowledge.
The archbishop said once he was visiting a small Catholic parish in a mining district for the purpose of administering confirmation. During the course of the exercises he asked one nervous little girl what matrimony was.
“It is a state of terrible torment which those who enter are compelled to undergo for a time to prepare them for a brighter and better world,” she said.
“No, no,” remonstrated her rector. “That isn’t matrimony. That’s the definition of purgatory.”
“Leave her alone,” said the archbishop. “Maybe she is right. What do you and I know about it?”
Knowing is through experiencing; knowledge is not your own experience. You can know millions of things without knowing them, but then don’t depend on it. It cannot be in communion with truth, it cannot reveal to you the mystery of life.
Two ladies in Boston heard the bishop give a rousing sermon on the beauties of married life. The ladies left the church feeling uplifted and contented.
“It was a fine sermon His Reverence gave us this morning,” observed one.
“That it was,” agreed the other, “and I wish I knew as little about the matter as he does.”
There is a way of knowing without knowing at all – that is knowledge. There is a way of knowing by really knowing – that is the way of wisdom. Wisdom is existential, knowledge is intellectual. In knowledge only part of your mind is involved, in wisdom your totality is immersed. And the difference is tremendous, the difference is incredible, immeasurable.
To know about reality is not really to know it. The “about” takes you round and round, but never to the point. It is beating round the bush. You can go on beating round and round, but it is almost futile.