All of us shall be judged not in accordance with what we had known but rather what we were able to fulfill because of the knowledge that we had possessed. Human efforts that are oriented primarily to knowing, instead of acting in consonance with the acquired knowledge, do not change or improve in any way human lives. What good can one possess if one's efforts culminate in enhancing one's knowledge alone? Although, it can be argued that through expansion of knowledge one is already changed since one possesses greater insight, the nature or the function of true knowledge however, is to implement benevolent action, for only such an action can increase further human understanding. True understanding is always linked to a response, firstly directed toward oneself, and an altruistic activity as well; it must necessarily have both individual and collective benefits in its consideration. Just as true understanding is impartible from true or infinitival hope and love, the most essential characteristic of true knowledge is to be never dissociated from philanthropy or comporting oneself in an unselfish way. There is inseparableness of true knowledge and action; "to love is to act" (Saint Theresa of Avila); knowledge that is separable from selfless activity loses its faultlessness and validity. True knowledge is intrinsically also limitlessly uplifting since it cannot be separated from infinite hope, love, courage or irreproachability.

       If human beings wish to know who they are, they not necessarily need to ask, but instead they must act, and their acting will define who they are (e.g., Gombrowicz). There exists a serious "misrelation between understanding and acting," as Kierkegaard observed, suggesting perhaps that the human intellect has in its capacity either fewer true insights than it purports to possess or is influenced by information that effectively hampers benevolent, and self-forgetful activity. Our understanding must be immediately directed against ourselves (i.e., "First take the log out of your own eye, and then you will be able to see clearly to take the speck out of your brother's eye" Mt. 7:5), since only then our vice, or what Kierkegaard referred to as our "intoxication" is recognized and thereafter can be overcome. He concluded that "...someone with only a slight capacity for knowledge, but turned inward and thus transformed into action, is sober, and that someone with the greatest capacity for knowledge, but turned in the opposite direction, is completely intoxicated" (For Self-Examination. Judge for Yourself, p. 119). Only disingenuousness and evasiveness would prompt one to profess to be for or against something that would lack corresponding action, making one's professed truth in actuality untrue. "To be sober is" in other words "to come so close to oneself in one's understanding, in one's knowing, that all one's understanding becomes action" (For Self-Examination... p. 115).

Christian Works by Dorothy Kardas, Psy.D. Th.D. 

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