The More I Learn, the Less I Know . . .

Those of you who know me on a personal basis will look at the title of this blog post and say, “Whoa! Hollee is being over-analytical again” or you may phrase it this way, “Oh, for the love of Pete, shut up!”

William Cowper[1] said, “Knowledge is proud that he has learn’d so much;Wisdom is humble that he knows no more.”

For the past couple of weeks, I have been working on a couple of projects that have taught me just how little I actually know about some things.

The first of these projects, or at least the one I started first, is a new book by Rita Bennett that will be released by Bridge-Logos Publishers in early 2009, called “Heaven Tours – Astonishing Journeys.”

In her latest book, Bennett, who along with her late-husband Dennis Bennett, authored the bestselling books “The Holy Spirit and You,” and “Nine O’clock in the Morning” takes the reader on a guided tour of Heaven—through the memories of people who have had “Near Death Experiences”—and through the scriptural references to Heaven’s design.

As a minister’s daughter and as a born-again Christian these past 38 years, I thought I knew all there was to know about Heaven—after all, I’ve read the Bible cover-to-cover a couple of times (although I did skip the begats, for the most part).

However, the more I read as I edited this new book, the more I learned that I did not really know anything about Heaven.

I won’t go into further detail here as it will spoil the read for you, and it is not my book nor my lesson to teach—you will have to buy the book and read for yourself, and marvel at what “. . . eye has not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God has prepared for them that love Him” (1 Corinthians 2:9, AKJ).

The second project that taught me how little I know is the one I am working on currently. Due to copyright constraints I also won’t go into the exact details of it, except to say that I am putting together a 3,000 word manuscript for a cardiothoracic surgeon for the Hunterian Lecture to be published in the Annals of the Royal College of Surgeons.

Whoa Nelly is right!

I have come across a slew of words and phrases I have never heard in my entire life— nucleotidase, xenotransplantation, abstract acute humoral rejection, cell mediated lysis, etc.

Oy gevalt! (Not quite the Yiddish equivalent of Whoa Nelly.)

Since I consider myself a collector of words, and as a freakishly attentive-to-detail editor, I have taken the time to look up most of the words in this manuscript. The more medical terms I learn, the more I realize just how little I really know—about the human body, about disease, about the upkeep and repair of the human heart from a physiological standpoint. I am absolutely amazed and in awe of the amount of knowledge that is in the research documents that have been provided me for this project. I am dumbfounded (yeah, a pun) that anyone actually knows this stuff! What a marvelous piece of work is the human brain.

Now—and don’t laugh at this—I loved school. I cried bitter tears when I graduated because that was the very best part of my life, up to that time. I love to read, research, investigate, to seek out new life and new civilizations, to boldly go . . . hold on, that’s Star Trek—insert back-pedaling here—I love to learn. So I am not disappointed in myself for not having this knowledge previous to these two writing/editing contracts—that would be ludicrous.

Although I may not actually know many things, I do know where I can find the answers to most of my questions. As Samuel Johnson said, “Knowledge is of two kinds: we know a subject ourselves, or we know where we can find information upon it.”[2] And somewhere down the line, at some unforeseen moment, this little bit of knowledge that I have accumulated over the past couple of weeks will make its way through the cluttered and dusty recesses of my mind, and come out my mouth at the appropriate time:

Alex Trebek: It is a part of the metabolic process that converts sugar, fat, and protein into cellular energy.

Hollee: What is Adenosine monophosphate deaminase 1 (isoform M), also known as AMPD1?

[1] The Task. Book vi. Winter Walk at Noon. Line 96.
[2] Life of Johnson (Boswell). 2 Vol. v. Chap. ix. 1775.


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