Monday, December 12, 2011

Today's fortune: December 12, 2011

Today's fortune: Wisdom is only found in truth.

Let's try a little experiment: I'm going to tell you two stories. One is definitely true, the other a complete fabrication. See if you can guess which is which - and then let's see what wisdom we can discover.

STORY 1: Last night Jamie and I put up our Christmas decorations. As I was assembling the plastic pre-lit tree, I plugged the power cord for the lights into the wall outlet, and in an instant my hand was completely numb. Before I knew what happened I was sitting on the ground and stunned from the electric shock. Upon closer inspection I found the cord was split where I was holding it to plug it in, and my skin was in contact with the bare metal wire inside.

STORY 2: I looked out the window this morning and pumped my fist when I discovered that I didn't have to scrape my windshield. It was a warm morning, which usually means a good day is ahead. As I opened the door to the garage to leave the house, I saw a bright flash of light and heard a loud BANG. I yelled an obscenity and darted back into the house, thinking the neighborhood was being bombed. Realizing that was silly, I stepped outside again and realized a transformer had blown nearby. The power was out in our house and all down the block.

The true story is No. 2. A transformer did in fact blow and my house was without power for a couple hours this morning. I did NOT shock myself last night on our Christmas tree (even though we did begin putting up our decorations).

So let's see: "Wisdom is only found in truth." Story 2 was true, and by reading it you learned this fact:

A transformer blew in Matt's neighborhood this morning, knocking the power out.

Story 1 was a lie - and as most lies go, it was based on truth with one fudged detail. If you were to believe that story, you would have gleaned this piece of information:

Matt shocked himself on a bare wire while putting up Christmas lights

The transformer story could lead to wisdom - "knowledge of what is true or right coupled with just judgment as to action," according to - but the Christmas lights story could not, simply because it is not true.

There's also this: Story 1 is completely unverifiable. In fact, if you asked Jamie, she would be able to tell you the story was utter bullshit. Additionally, touching a bare wire probably would have done some pretty serious damage, and the story indicated the injury was minor.

Story 2 is verifiable, if you wanted to do the work: Jamie would confirm it; you could check with the power company to see if there was an outage; and you could ask my neighbors if their power was out or if they heard the boom.

That helps satisfy another part of the definition of wisdom: "Discernment." By verifying what is true and what is not, you gain further wisdom.

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