… That no one can take for us or spare us

I posted a quote a few days back. But I think I should of expanded on what it means to me. To explain why I find that quote appealing.

“We don’t receive wisdom; we must discover it for ourselves after a journey that no one can take for us or spare us.”
“On ne reçoit pas la sagesse, il faut la découvrir soi-même, après un trajet que personne ne peut faire pour nous, ne peut nous épargner.”

Marcel Proust

There are a few implications, and they all stem from the last few words, “that no one can take for us, or spare us”.

The first is that it means that we need to accept that we cannot learn, we cannot become wiser, without adversity. We can read all the books, but we won’t find wisdom. We’ll find information, we may even find knowledge, but we won’t find wisdom.

That wisdom has a cost. It has an emotional toll. It has some painful introspection. It may lead to some self delusions that were protecting us shattering.

The second implication is that we cannot transfer wisdom. The corollary is then, that I can’t stop something that needs to happen. To do that is to rob that person of the wisdom it will bring. It’s often a bitter pill to swallow since we’d prefer to protect the individual from the inevitable pain that will accompany this, but at times it’s the only option.

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