Hi. My name is Irene and I’m a bookaholic. Yes, I truly am and I can’t get enough of them. I have books secretly stashed in filing cabinets, the top of the piano, the kitchen table, on the floor beside my wingback chair, in the seat of the car and more often than not, in my purse. Sometimes I read two or more books at a time—no not simultaneously. You know what I mean. I read a chapter of this one then I pick up another and read a few pages. Somehow I manage to keep them straight in my mind although sometimes I forget where I was and read it again thinking it sounds familiar. I learned to read before I started school and have been a bookaholic ever since. I read a lot of books. But really, I’m a bookaholic looking for wisdom.
I love the smell of a library—especially old libraries. There’s nothing else that smells like that—musty old pages mixed with dust and ancient ink. I actually loved the old card catalog and miss being able to browse through the cards as I’d try to find the ones that led me to just the right section and the right shelf that held the books about my subject of interest. Our little town had a very small card catalog section tucked in the side of a small reading room but imagine my excitement when I discovered a room the size of my house filled with those wonderful dog-eared, smudged, worn cards the first time I visited the university library. I was in heaven. Searching on a computer just isn’t the
A high point of my college days was getting to study at the Library of Congress where you sit at a carrel in the main reading room, turning in your request for books and having them delivered to your desk. I would have moved in if I could but they don’t take overnight guests there. Working in that magnificent room where so many icons of history had worked was a high for me.
My idea of a good time is sitting in Barnes and Noble with a good cup of coffee looking through the just-published books.
The point is that I read a lot of books. I know a lot of “stuff.”
But the question is, “Do I have wisdom?” Knowing a lot of facts doesn’t necessarily mean I will make a good decision or take the right pa
th. “Wisdom is a deep understanding and realization of people, things, events or situations, resulting in the ability to apply perceptions, judgments and actions in keeping with this understanding.” (Wikipedia)
Wisdom implies intellectual and emotional maturity and an ability to patiently dig beneath the surface to know what is really going on. It is knowing when the time is right to take action rather than impulsively charging forward. It is knowing when to speak and when to be silent, when to help and when to walk away. Some people call wisdom “common sense” but there’s nothing common about it.
In health care, it is the difference between knowing the symptoms and knowing what is at the root of the symptoms. An “intelligent” physician or other healthcare professional will ask the questions about the presenting symptoms and, looking at them all, will make a diagnosis and prescribe a plan of treatment. A “wise” doctor or health care professional will get this same information and then set about discovering what else is going on with the patient. What are the stresses? What’s happening at home? What is the patient’s belief about his own health (For example: Does he believe he will have a heart attack because his father died at this same age from a heart attack? Does she believe she will have breast cancer because her mother and a sister had breast cancer?) Do they have adequate nutrition or do they rely on junk food and fast food from the drive-through for their meals? What do they do to relax or do they relax at all? They will want to know if the person feels loved, safe, secure.
So how do we get wisdom? Confucius said, “By three methods we may learn wisdom: First, by reflection, which is noblest; Second, by imitation, which is easiest; and third by experience, which is the bitterest.”
I’m a bookaholic. I’m not looking for treatment for this condition but I am looking for a wise doctor who reflects before he gets out his prescription pad.
About the Author
Irene Conlan is the proud owner and editor of The Self Improvement Blog. She has a master’s degree in Nursing and a PhD in Metaphysics.