Meta, an abstraction of the part

The sum of all that is, is data,
yet those who know only data
know less than they think.

The sum of all data is knowledge,
yet those who have only knowledge
know less than their data.

The sum of all knowledge is not wisdom,
it is words; the wise who do not surrender
to this are fools, lonely in their selves,
except for themselves.

And what is the sum of all surrender?
It is to be at the beginning of all things,
which is to say at the end of all things,
which is to say, exactly, with You.

I am a computer geek and deal with the differences between data, knowledge, and wisdom on a daily basis. The rest of the poem is a non-professional issue. 🙂

Thank you for reading Meta, an abstraction of the part. I humbly appreciate your visiting the Book of Pain, and as always, I look forward to your comments.

The photograph was taken in Quebec, Canada, last year. To see my photography blog, please visit the Book of Bokeh.


Photograph, poem and notes © John Etheridge; all rights reserved. The poem and accompanying notes are licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 Unported License. This applies to all original written work found on this site, unless noted otherwise. The attribution claimed under the license is: © John Etheridge, The photograph is not licensed for use in any way without the expressed consent of its creator.


Filed under Poetry

10 responses to “Meta, an abstraction of the part

  1. Of course, the brain registers numerous data on daily basis. To fetch from the repository of data, equivalent to memory, & apply to a painstakingly assessed situation or scenario appropriately can be tagged knowledge. This is factor to a reliable memory & a reputable insight.
    Data, knowledge et al are intertwined with other factors party to their dependence on each other.

    Your critical review of the subject matter in a poetic fashion is amiable. Thumbs

    • Thank you, Weird Mask Man! (Which, by the way, has to be one of the best online name I have ever heard!) But I think it is clear that your knowledge on the science of the subject far exceeds mine. From my point of view, I guess mostly what I wanted to point out is that one needs to reflect on one’s capabilities and knowledge from a posture of humility…an act that I personally oftenstruggle with. Hence this reminder of its importance.

      But I appreciate very much your kind comment and welcome to you to the Book of Pain!

  2. Kathleen Johnson

    John, I love this. In my younger days before I became a Baha’i, I had a whole different understanding of surrender. I made a 180 on that and sacrifice and you said it best in the last stanza. Love your beautiful insights.

    BTW, my daughter is the editor of nineteen months and Vahid. Love your stuff in those publications!

    • Kathleen, that is wonderfully kind of you to say. Thank you! And also for your lovely comments on my contributions to and to Vahid magazine. To be honest I usually feel that I am struggling just to keep up with the competition! Both publications have such wonderful and deep artistic resources. I feel honored to be a part of the group, in both spots. 🙂

  3. Resonates with wisdom, John. Smiles …

    • Thank you, Bonnie, it is always good to hear from you! I’m not sure if it’s true wisdom or bluff pontification. But I at least finished it, and for me, that’s a huge win! 🙂

  4. I often have a similar argument with myself but usually I focus more on “what is it to be eloquent?” “do intelligence and eloquence correlate?” “just because I can explain something is that the same as understanding it?” A great example of poetry taking a more philosophical stance.

    • Thank you so much! To be honest, I am actually amazed at how a poem that I worried would be too ‘dry’ or religious for people has elicited such a positive feedback. And especially feedback that is as eloquent and thoughtful as your own. 🙂

  5. Wonderful, my friend. I found myself thinking of Solomon … Have a good rest of the week.

    • Solomon is indeed the Bible’s standard bearer of the importance of wisdom and justice. Thank you so much for drawing this reference! I feel, as always, complimented by your friendship. 🙂