And so the unending debate rages on: knowledge and law Vs wisdom and mercy. The former providing information based on learning assimilated through access to large libraries and the storehouse of tradition. The latter, illuminating revelations to the mind, gateway to the heart and residence of the soul. Preference of one over the other would be tempered by cultural factors. Who are we to judge the primacy of one or the other? Happy are they who find a comforting balance.
Personally. I see knowledge as the product of human effort; burning the midnight oil, seeking references and carrying heavy loads of data (printed or on the web). Assimilation depending on one’s ability to access, store and compute information. Most of all one must be able to disseminate all this effectively and persuasively. However, knowledge cannot be absolute. No sooner is the thesis presented another scholar is ready to refute the premise and put forward another theory he/she considers more meritorious. The list of doctors and saints is unlimited. To preserve a legacy, institutions resort to clothing their position in dogma, constitutions – any stonewall that will inhibit dissension or challenge. At a time and place in our history this may have been necessary. Only thing lacking is the lesson from Prometheus, who stole the fire from the zealous Mt. Olympus to the betterment of humankind. It is part of human nature to question and challenge opinions, especially when they represent any form of authority. It is a form of purgation that prevents “one good custom from corrupting the world”. The fruit of midnight-oil burning labours, themselves, remain subject to the whimsical wind that continues to blow and threaten, and will not be shut out.
On the other hand, protagonists of the counter argument believe knowledge understates the quality of mercy. Wisdom cannot be contained by graying hair and heavy burdens of law. They are impatient with the furniture and sartorial splendour of high office that dictates what they must think, read; when to eat and the dress code etc. They stand, question, and decide if it is worthwhile participating in gestures and ceremonies that have no place for their own sentiments or opinions; arrived at what they perceive as justified positions. They turn to the Lord and ask, “Is this why you challenged the ‘doctors of the law’ in your time? Why You valued the wisdom given to children over the mill-stone of law? Why Mary exalted the foolish over the wise; the weak over the strong?” They challenge the doctors of the law to show them their faith, and in return they will show them their actions.
With apologies to the bard, well may we may ask, “Where does true faith live; in the heart or in the head; how begot how nourished?”