Skip to main content

Knowledge and Folly

Source: Quotefancy

“You understand, and that’s why you’ll never have any peace. If you didn’t understand, you’d be happy.” Zorba the Greek, protagonist of the eponymous novel by Kazantzakis, tells this to the narrator who is a young man of much knowledge. “You’re young,” Zorba goes on, “you have money, health, you’re a good fellow, you lack nothing. Nothing, by thunder! Except just one thing – folly! And when that’s missing, well…”

Zorba doesn’t complete the sentence. The sort of folly that Zorba wants his boss to attain is not something that can be explained. It is the product of enlightenment. It dawns on you when you stop depending on your brain for everything. “A man’s head is like a grocer,” as Zorba says, “it keeps accounts. I’ve paid so much and earned so much and that means a profit of this much or a loss of that much! The head’s a careful little shopkeeper; it never risks all it has, always keeps something in reserve. It never breaks the string.”

Knowledge is not wisdom. In order to be as wise as Zorba, one has to go beyond all the cerebral knowledge one has stored up in the head and step onto the shaky grounds of folly. Wordsworth’s heart could leap up when he beheld the rainbow or a daffodil because he possessed that folly. The nightingale did the same for John Keats and the skylark for Shelley. 

You may have all the knowledge in the world and yet be discontented. What you lack is folly: the readiness to risk all that you hold as the most precious. Why not step out of your certainties for once? Why not look at the rainbow and the daffodil for a change? Listen to the nightingale and the skylark? And perceive what they long to tell you?

A different kind of knowledge will descend on you then. That’s wisdom. That’s folly. That’s joy.

PS. Today's #BlogchatterA2Z letter is K.

Top post on IndiBlogger, the biggest community of Indian Bloggers


  1. Wonderful to have come across this post! It's so enlightening a read!

  2. Brilliant thought; Well from you it is not a surprise

    1. Thank you, Rakhi. Nice to see you here after a long time.

  3. Reminded of Shakespeare's Fools. Folly is not being worldly wise. It connects us to the simple heart we had at crib.

    1. Children see the world in its pristine freshness. Regaining that ability requires folly.


Post a Comment

Popular posts from this blog

The Adventures of Toto as a comic strip

  'The Adventures of Toto' is an amusing story by Ruskin Bond. It is prescribed as a lesson in CBSE's English course for class 9. Maggie asked her students to do a project on some of the lessons and Femi George's work is what I would like to present here. Femi converted the story into a beautiful comic strip. Her work will speak for itself and let me present it below.  Femi George Student of Carmel Public School, Vazhakulam, Kerala Similar post: The Little Girl

The Ugly Duckling

Source: Acting Company A. A. Milne’s one-act play, The Ugly Duckling , acquired a classical status because of the hearty humour used to present a profound theme. The King and the Queen are worried because their daughter Camilla is too ugly to get a suitor. In spite of all the devious strategies employed by the King and his Chancellor, the princess remained unmarried. Camilla was blessed with a unique beauty by her two godmothers but no one could see any beauty in her physical appearance. She has an exquisitely beautiful character. What use is character? The King asks. The play is an answer to that question. Character plays the most crucial role in our moral science books and traditional rhetoric, religious scriptures and homilies. When it comes to practical life, we look for other things such as wealth, social rank, physical looks, and so on. As the King says in this play, “If a girl is beautiful, it is easy to assume that she has, tucked away inside her, an equally beauti

Face of the Faceless

“When you choose to fight for truth and justice, you will have to face serious threats.” Sister Rani Maria, the protagonist of the movie, is counselled by her mother in a letter. Face of the Faceless is a movie that shows how serious those threats are. This movie is a biopic. It shows us the life of a Catholic nun who dedicated her life to serve some Adivasis of Madhya Pradesh [MP] and ended up as a martyr. If it were not a real story, this movie would have been an absolute flop. Since it is the real story of not only a nun but also the impoverished and terribly exploited Adivasis in a particular village of MP, it keeps you engrossed. It is a sad movie, right from the beginning to the end. It is a story of the good versus evil, the powerless versus the powerful, the heroic versus the villainous, the divine versus the diabolic. Having said that, I must hasten to add one conspicuous fact: the movie does not ever present Christianity or its religious practices as the only right way

All the light we cannot see

Book Review Title: All the light we cannot see Author: Anthony Doerr Publisher: Fourth Estate, London, 2014 Pages: 531 What we call light is just a tiny fraction of the electromagnetic spectrum. Most part of the electromagnetic spectrum remains beyond ordinary human perception. Such is human life too: so many of its shades remain beyond our ordinary perception and understanding. Anthony Doerr’s novel, All the light we cannot see , unravels for us some of the mysterious shades of human life. Marie-Laure LeBlanc leaves Paris with her father Daniel who is entrusted with the task of carrying a rare diamond, Sea of Flames , to safe custody when the second world war breaks out. The National Museum of Natural History, Paris, has made three counterfeit diamonds of the Sea of Flames. Four men are assigned the task of carrying each of these diamonds to four different destinations. None of them knows whether they are carrying the original diamond or the counterfeit. Marie-Laure a

The Little Girl

The Little Girl is a short story by Katherine Mansfield given in the class 9 English course of NCERT. Maggie gave an assignment to her students based on the story and one of her students, Athena Baby Sabu, presented a brilliant job. She converted the story into a delightful comic strip. Mansfield tells the story of Kezia who is the eponymous little girl. Kezia is scared of her father who wields a lot of control on the entire family. She is punished severely for an unwitting mistake which makes her even more scared of her father. Her grandmother is fond of her and is her emotional succour. The grandmother is away from home one day with Kezia's mother who is hospitalised. Kezia gets her usual nightmare and is terrified. There is no one at home to console her except her father from whom she does not expect any consolation. But the father rises to the occasion and lets the little girl sleep beside him that night. She rests her head on her father's chest and can feel his heart