The endless cycle of idea and action,
Endless invention, endless experiment,
Brings knowledge of motion, but not of stillness;
Knowledge of speech, but not of silence;
Knowledge of words, and ignorance of the Word.
All our knowledge brings us nearer to death,
But nearness to death no nearer to God.
Where is the Life we have lost in living?
Where is the wisdom we have lost in knowledge?
Where is the knowledge we have lost in information?
-Choruses from The Rock, by T.S. Eliot
The prose above is a fragment of a poem by T.S. Eliot. You can read the full version here. I have to say that the moment I read those words, it reminds me of the Preacher’s words in Ecclesiastes: “Vanity of Vanities” or in Latin: “Vanitas Vanitatum”. In my opinion, it is true that man has invented and created lots during their fleeting life, but if you see between the lines, all those things serve no purpose than to fill man’s depth-less hunger for meaning. If you try to deconstruct things you see around you, it’s all a futile attempt which will be devoured by time, to be replaced with newer things which, though able to expand, does not fill the inner meaning of necessity in man’s soul.
All those things we call good will end up being decrepit. The very thing which we all seeks to aspire is nothing more than a catalyst which will lead us to a tyranny of ideals, in which we value ideals more than humanity itself. The definition of “Meaning” is more and more subdued these days. Life itself has become a conundrum which people does not bother to fix.
I like the last three lines of the poem above which I think reflect our zeitgeist; The knowledge we all learn have made us forget the wisdom gathered from time. Wisdom is eternal, but all those knowledge we prize serve only to fill our temporal curiosity. Knowledge comes from the information, which we think gives us power. But the truth is that we are more and more overwhelmed by sheer volume of information that we forget the essentials.
We have lost life’s meaning through things around us, while we should really see inward and see that the devoid of meaning itself comes not from our inability to perceive the meaning of reality but our apathy & inability to perceive Divine purpose which I believe is inherent in every Human Being.