Speech, Truth, Wisdom

You should believe most of what you say, but you need not say most of what you believe.

There is no rationale for deferring speech until you are absolutely certain of the truth of what you will say. Or rather, the only rationale for adopting such a policy is simultaneously the rationale for living the rest of one’s life as a hermit. Learning is dialectical, and there is no dialectic without the courage to speak, to postulate, and to hypothesize — to “place under” — come what may. Even if what may come is the realization that one must start again.

Wisdom is not the collection of all the things you know, nor even the self-consciousness of the highest thing you know. Perhaps it is, rather, the accumulated effect of all the things you once thought you knew, but then revised, re-evaluated, and finally rejected, sometimes with shame — and subsequently, many years later, re-evaluated and revised once again so as to restore and reclaim whatever effluence of those once-rejected ideas has persistently reasserted itself in your experience and thinking as ultimately indispensable, in spite of all your earnest or accidental efforts to transcend or forget them.

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