This remains part of the common parlance in the conference of hearts and minds of thinking men and women that ‘knowledge without character is dangerous, but a character without knowledge is weak, feeble and undefended’.
We know we need a certain amount of knowledge to do almost anything independently; without knowing the mind is blind. Knowledge, therefore, seems to be the foremost need of a man and to gain knowledge the foremost duty. But to gain knowledge comes only next where to build character stands first. Consider this, we are born without any knowledge, and we are vulnerable to the dangers of the world, but we are never born without a character but that of a certain family, a society, a culture or a group. Which means, even before we are born, we have something to grow upon. We all need good parents, good teachers, and then good friends, relative, and people we live, study and work alongside. All these add to the character we grow up to become.
Knowledge alone could lead man to dangers and suffering of such magnitude that no level of ignorance would. The ignorant are safer in that they are at least limited in their capacity, capability and reach, the ignorant would live imprisoned within the foreboding walls of their fears. Where knowledge gives people eyes and sets their hearts and mind fee. The pursuit of knowledge then could become addictive, the love of freedom may ultimately transform into lust for power, dominance, and expansion.
Knowledge is the light of the way, but a character is the definition of the direction that we always need. We always need to be on a well-lit path, but first, we also need to be sure we are on the right one. A character is a way we have come to be, and that determines, where we will be in the future.
Knowledge could lead us to greater suffering, but while we are not there yet, it informs us about the true nature of our experiences, our adventures so far. It opens our eyes to the path we are on, to our shortcomings, and the misdirection, to the wrongs incorporated into our personal and social existence, and to our general human condition. Knowledge engenders awareness that enables us to feel the pain and sense the hurt and the harms that we may not have been able to sense otherwise. A mind with knowledge is alight like a furnace, and until a proper character is forged out of it, the suffering the anguish and the pain will remain to fill the place.