I have left the house of scholars and slammed the door behind me.
Too long did my soul sit hungry at their table; I have not been schooled, as they have, to crack knowledge as one cracks nuts.
I love freedom and the air over fresh soil; I would sleep on ox-skins rather than on their dignities and respectabilities.
I am too hot and scorched by my own thought: it is often about to take my breath away. Then I have to get into the open air and away from all dusty rooms.
But they sit cool in the cool shade: they want to be mere spectators in everything and they take care not to sit where the sun burns upon the steps….
When they give themselves out as wise, their little sayings and truths make me shiver: their wisdom often smells as if it came from the swamps….
They are clever, they have cunning fingers: what is my simplicity compared with their diversity? Their fingers understand all threading and knitting and weaving: thus they weave the stockings of the spirit!…
They keep a sharp eye upon one another and do not trust one another as well as they might. Inventive in small slynesses, they lie in wait for those whose wills go upon lame feet – they lie in wait like spiders….
They also know how to play with loaded dice; and I found them playing so zealously that they were sweating.
We are strangers to one another, and their virtues are even more opposed to my taste than are their falsehoods and loaded dice.
And when I lived among them I lived above them. They grew angry with me for that.
They did not want to know that someone was walking over their heads; and so they put wood and dirt and rubbish between their heads and me.
Thus they muffled the sound of my steps: and from then on the most scholarly heard me the worst….
But I walk above their heads with my thoughts in spite of that; and even if I should walk upon my own faults, I should still be above them and their heads.
For men are not equal: thus speaks justice. And what I desire they may not desire!
…Thus spake Zarathustra.
One of the most important distinctions one has to make is between knowledge and knowing. Knowledge is cheap and easy: knowing is costly, risky, needs courage. Knowledge is available in the market. There are special markets for knowledge – the universities, the colleges. Knowing is not available anywhere except within yourself.
Knowing is your capacity. Knowledge is your memory, and memory is the function of the mind that can be easily done by any computer. Knowledge is always borrowed. It is not a flower that grows in your soul, it is something plastic that has been imposed upon you. Knowledge has no roots; it does not grow. It is a dead compilation of corpses. Knowing is a continuous growth, it is a living process. In other words: knowing belongs to your consciousness and its evolution, knowledge belongs to your mind and its memory system.
The words look similar; hence they have created much confusion in the world. And knowledge is cheap – you can get it from books, you can get it from the rabbis, you can get it from the pundits, you can get it from the bishops – there are thousands of ways of accumulating knowledge. But it is a dead pile; it has no life of its own. And the most significant thing to remember is: all your knowledge, however great, makes no difference to your ignorance. Your ignorance remains intact. The only difference it makes is, it covers up your ignorance. You can pretend to the world that you are no longer ignorant, but deep inside you there is just darkness. Behind the borrowed words there is no experience.
Knowing dispels your ignorance; knowing is just like light which dispels darkness. Hence, remember the difference between the scholar and the wise man. The wise man is not necessarily a scholar and vice versa – the scholar is also not necessarily a wise man.
Most probably the scholar rarely becomes a wise man – for the simple reason that he has so much knowledge that he can deceive people, and if he can deceive many people he is deceived by their deception. He starts believing: if so many people think me a wise man, then I must be. So many people cannot be so foolish. Hence, in the life of the scholar there is no journey, no exploration, no discovery. He lives in the greatest illusion in the world – he knows nothing and he thinks he knows all.