Where There is Knowledge, Conceit is Absent
In various ancient civilizations libraries were built primarily for the purpose of preserving their traditions and heritage; the Library of Alexandria, however, was more ambitious. Going beyond the local and regional limits, it sought to be a universal library and embarked on a vast collection of the writings of all men worth serious attention regardless of geographic origin.
Narcisso lived near this great library and was enthralled by the enormous and diverse accounts from other parts of the world. The writings of Aristotle, Eratosthenes and Euripides were especially of interest to him and he marveled at the newness and wisdom of all that was offered.
After several months, his interest in the library waned as his attention was claimed by other pursuits related to his profession and family obligations. Every now and again, he would shake his head disapprovingly at the ignorant comments and actions of his acquaintances. He was proud of the little he retained from Aristotle’s writings on ethics and felt sorry for his fellow men who had no access to the great works in the library due to their inability to read Greek.
To Narcisso, the knowledge of the world was next door and he felt he could always turn to it whenever he pleased. There was no spur to penetrate deeper into the works of the great thinkers of history, applying their theories in his daily life and thereby deriving conviction in their rightness or recognizing their shortcomings; he was simply satisfied and comforted by the library’s proximity. His self-importance grew amidst the pandemonium and immorality of his time for unlike the others he had access to the knowledge of the world. Unlike the others, he could regurgitate the words of wise men. Unlike the others, he had come to the recognition of the value of the library.
Unbeknownst to him, events lay ahead which will reveal his ignorance just where he considered himself advanced.
The man who knows where to find food but does not come to the point of eating starves just as equally as the man with no knowledge of the whereabouts of food.