Thursday, April 26, 2007
The scholar seeks knowledge for its own sake. He desires no reward but the accumulation of understanding. He disdains all patronage, for the nature of the patron is to infect the scholar's inquiry with petty bias and diversion. The watchword of the scholar is dispassionate distrust, for only through skepticism can he separate information from noise. The scholar is open with his knowledge, making it freely available to all others, whether they be fellow scholars or common men. Yet the scholar does not promote his knowledge, he does not march through the streets with banner unfurled, shouting his knowledge with all his voice until his throat grows hoarse. Nor does he seek to silence the voice of his critics, but implacably he listens to their cries and dissects their every word in silence. For the scholar's audience is other scholars; he knows they also follow the doctrine of skepticism, and if his knowledge be true, then they will filter it from the clamor of surrounding noise. Patiently he works, and trusts only his inner compass. These are the signs of a scholar: O, that there were such a one!