When I was younger, I heard a whisper of a rumour. It was a rumour about where wisdom was to be found.
I heard that long ago, there was a succession of thinkers, and in their thoughts can be seen glimpses of that wisdom which encompasses and indwells the world.
Out of one part of those thoughts grew all the mighty technology and terrible machines of the modern world, all the wonders that so impress us today. And I heard that this one part of their thought, which has expanded into such a marvellous enterprise in our past, was only the smallest and lowest part of what they knew.
Originally these thinkers were Greek, but their later successors often also wrote in Latin and Arabic and other languages.
Their writings are often translated, though sometimes not, or sometimes only poorly. Even where good translations are readily available, the ideas are highly difficult to assimilate, requiring many years of toilsome effort to make progress in.
And it’s only a rumour. Few people I’ve ever met have made any progress at all in that sort of learning, and even for those who have, they can often only impart some small portion of what they’ve learned.
Who would stake everything on a rumour? What if you gave your life to learning these things and in the end found only vanity and emptiness?
Still, so many of the other rumours of wisdom that float around today are more easily dismissed. This one at least seems like one of those that may be true. And this one hopeful glimmer will necessarily attract many who thirst for wisdom.
If this is where wisdom is to be found, it is everything. For many of us, then, it will seem worth the risk.