All the wisdom in the world
When my father passed away last year he left us with thousands of books. Books were dad’s life. Bookshelves throughout the house were packed in double rows, they had invaded the bedroom cupboards and conquered the bar in the lounge-room. We selected a small number to keep, but most of them were sold and given away. At the end of the cull, we still had a substantial pile that did not interest even the most alternative second hand bookstore, so rather than simply throwing them out, I kept all the old Penguin and Pelican covers and used them to wallpaper the toilet room walls.
Sacrilege! We now get to stare at rows of 1940’s-60’s philosophy and science titles every time we go to the loo. My favourite ones on the blue Pelican wall are ‘How to be happy though human’ and ‘Uses and Abuses of Psychology’ whilst the orange wall is laced with a number of novels such as ‘Memoires of a Midget.’
It is thought provoking to consider the huge investment in time and energy that went into writing these. I know how long it took to write Bug Dragons… and that isn’t a big book! All this ‘wisdom’ of a past era is now displayed on my walls: superseded, redundant or simply old fashioned. Times change…. but what about truth?
Proverbs 25:2 says “It is the glory of God to conceal things, but the glory of Kings is to search things out.” There are endless discoveries to be made in physics, maths, biology, astronomy… even art! The truth of a matter must certainly exist but it needs to be sought after with integrity and honesty.
“The Fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom; all those who practise it have a good understanding.” Psalm 111:10
And so I furnished the ‘Penguin’ wall with a blackboard upon which visitors are invited to write their own pearls of literary wisdom. My daughter christened it with a poem about Constipation. Oh well!