The English teacher certainly didn't help the cause by stinging my cheeks with his slaps!
Which is why every once in a while I now have to take it upon myself to read a poem and figure things out for myself at, what I hope is, the middle phase of my life.
Or, I pop in, every once in a while, at a poetry reading to listen to poems. Poems are, I have come to realize, meant to be listened to as somebody with wonderful diction read/recited. In fact, I am even ready to proclaim that merely reading a poem does it great disservice--a poem is for the ear and not for the eye. Perhaps that is why it was also possible for many brilliant blind poets across the cultures. Or how the poetry of the vedas made it possible for an unwritten transmission over the years.
But, then poetry these days is so much of free verse that I end up getting rather annoyed. I am merely continuing on with my neo-traditionalism even in poetry appreciation, eh!
There is something a lot more magical in the old-style poems. Like in Tennyson's line, "Knowledge comes, but wisdom lingers," which is the title of this post as well. Ah, only those wonderful poets know how to condense profound ideas into a couple of words!
As much as I relished reading it, "Knowledge comes, but wisdom lingers" definitely seems like a poem that will be fantastic if a poet or a thespian were to recite it.
The knowledge couplets from the poem are simply a treasure:
Knowledge comes, but wisdom lingers, and I linger on the shore,Intellectuals and the pseudo-guys like me profess to pursuing knowledge, ultimately it is wisdom that rocks! It is a world of a difference between knowledge and wisdom, more than the difference that exists between information and knowledge.
And the individual withers, and the world is more and more.
Knowledge comes, but wisdom lingers, and he bears a laden breast,
Full of sad experience, moving toward the stillness of his rest.
The best anti-intellectual argument that I have ever come across (even though I didn't agree with it entirely) was this scathing essay by Robert Nozick, which I first read it more than a decade ago. Since then, I have encountered way too many arrogant pseudo-intellectuals more than wise ones and, hence, appreciate Nozick even more :)
Maybe it is the mere "knowing" and an attitude of know-it-all, sans any wisdom, that irks people? The anti-intellectual emotions do not mean anti-wisdom? And, hence, even anti-intellectual poems and verses like this one by Auden?
To the man-in-the-street, who, I'm sorry to say,Nothing like beating up on intellectuals, eh, and that too the pretentious ones!
Is a keen observer of life,
The word 'Intellectual' suggests right away
A man who's untrue to his wife
But, wait, is knowledge even a necessary condition for wisdom?