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How Anthony Simcoe Taught Me the Difference Between Wisdom and Knowledge

2013/10/30

NextStage: Predictive Intelligence, Persuasion Engineering, Interactive Analytics and Behavioral Metrics

FarScape was a sci-fi TV show that originally ran from 1998-2002. It caught our attention back then although I don’t think we got past the second or third season because it got…well…it got wanky. We think it started to suffer from the Gilligan’s Dinosaur Syndrome and that’s what caused the wankiness. I mean, it was such a good show when it started.

Anyway, the Pivot TV network is now showing the series (along with other interesting stuff that we haven’t found elsewhere. They’re worth a look) and we managed to catch the premier episode one channel flipping afternoon (FarScape normally airs at 11pmET, Monday-Friday).


Anthony Simcoe as D'ArgoSkip back to 1998, Susan and I are sitting in our living room (I think it was a Friday or Saturday evening) and FarScape comes on. One character, D’Argo, is played by Anthony Simcoe. I’d never heard of Anthony Simcoe before and was immediately taken by his voice. Had this guy done voice overs? Was he a voice actor? What else had he done?

Most importantly for this post, What did he look like?

I’ve been visually challenged since birth and have always been fascinated by people’s sounds (voices) compared and contrasted to their physiologies. Sometimes I’ll hug men because they have such resonant voices I’m curious about the chamber that produces it.

For example, I’ve been told that I don’t look like I sound. I’ve been trained to modulate my voice, to throat speak, to rotary breathe, all sorts of things that allow me to change my voice, so I can understand people telling me I don’t look like I sound.

But Anthony Simcoe’s voice…it was deep, powerful, resonant. Was he a singer? He elocution was also incredible (considering the makeup he was wearing) and accentless.

What did he look like?

But back in 1998 there was no internet like we know it today (I know, only fifteen years ago. Oh, my!). You couldn’t type in “Anthony Simcoe” and get parsecs of info on him and everything about him.

And, of course, once we stopped watching FarScape I forgot about him.

Until I saw him as D’Argo again thanks to Pivot TV.

And now, if I wanted, I could type his name into my desktop, my laptop, my tablet, my mobile, … heck, I could probably fingerwrite his name onto the morning frost on my windshield and my car could tell me everything about him.

And before I did any of that, I stopped.

Did I really want to know?

I mean, I had and once again have this incredibly rich image of Anthony Simcoe sans D’Argo makeup in my head. He probably doesn’t look anything like what I imagine, but so what? It’s his voice I love. Do I really truly honest to god want to know what chamber it comes out of?

Hug him, sure, and with my eyes closed.

But look him in the eye and ruin everything?

Were You Disappointed When Richard Dreyfuss Boarded the Close Encounters MotherShip?Were You Disappointed When Richard Dreyfuss Boarded the Close Encounters MotherShip?

Remember Close Encounters, Special Edition? The one where Richard Dreyfuss as Roy Neary actually goes on board the alien mothership and we follow him onboard? And instead of having all those wonderful imaginations in our head of what it was like, we actually see what it was like?

Was that a freakin’ disappointment or what, huh?

I remembered that. I remembered going to the theater with a bunch of friends and Richard Dreyfuss’ Roy Neary goes on board and we all went, “What? That’s not what it’s like in there!”

Knowledge Isn’t Wisdom and Part of Wisdom is Knowing What’s Worth Not Knowing At All

Susan and I use to love Cirque du Soleil. I mean, we loved it. I first encountered it wa-a-ay back when I was hitchhiking through Canada and I got her hooked the first time it came to Boston. It was magic.

Magic!

And we went to several different shows in several different places and then one night we were watching a Bravo tv show about what goes in to making a Cirque du Soleil and the incredible training and scripting and then we see right on television that two of the next stars of the next production, two headliners, are holding out for more money.

To heck with the fact that they’d signed contracts and everything, they realized they were main attractions in the new show and decided they could hold the show ransom because they didn’t want to honor their contracts, heck no, they simply wanted more money.

And the magic, at that instant, right at that moment, as Susan and I were sitting in the same living room where we’d watched FarScape, died.

I’m talking stake through the heart it ain’t never coming back dead. We’ve not gone to a Cirque du Soleil show since.

And whenever we think about Cirque du Soleil, we wish we’d never watched that Bravo tv show because knowing wasn’t as good as dreaming and wondering.

In short, the knowledge didn’t add any real value to our lives. In fact, it took value away.

Just like seeing the inside of the mothership.

If you’re thinking this touches back to Digital Divisivity, you’re correct. Knowing a fact doesn’t necessarily make you a better person. Sometimes it might even make you a lesser person, in the sense that the knowledge, recognizably trivial to your daily life, doesn’t make you happy and takes some of your happiness away.

It’s like being told that high school algebra will someday help you buy groceries. Really? It will? Can you prove that?

Back to Anthony Simcoe

So, Anthony, you big, powerful, broad chested, handsome as all heck, wonderful father and husband who is kind to animals and has that amazingly melodious baritone that makes me so curious about you, I never want to meet you face to face. You might not be who I think you are, and I’m big into avoiding disappointments at this point in my life.

Thanks for the wisdom in recognizing that, though.

I mean, you know what they say; “Knowledge is knowing a tomato is a fruit. Wisdom is not putting it in a fruit salad.”

Right now, Anthony, you’re a happy fruit. Now stay out of my salad.

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One Comment leave one →
  1. Oliver permalink
    2013/11/08 12:18 am

    I enjoyed the read, and understand the emotional dance of desiring to keep the past as it had been taken, in that past. Well written. As regards the matter of ‘wisdom.’ As regards the matter of ‘knowledge.’ I feel there is more to more carefully keep in mind when making application on a pragmatic level of analysis; essentially.

    I do not see how it could add any pragmatic value to life at all, to ascribe the condition of wisdom the the rock in my Japanese garden in front of my house. Right, we don’t think of inanimate objects as being wise unless we are overly anthropomorphizing, or using personification in story telling–as children will do. Even that pine tree that bends as it has been forced to bend, due to the pole to which it had been kept tied and updated over its years of growth, can hardly be said to be wise for bending in such a graceful and artistic manner.

    I find that to hold the condition of being wise, to have wisdom–like having faith–requires content to be formulated as the definition sense range for the word works. That, in turn, requires knowledge. We will always come back to that basic, I aruge.

    So I reason that a tomatoe is an item which is a member of the fruit family, is an item of knowlege. To know that tomatoes are not used in fruit salads, at the same time, is also an item of knowledge. This is just as true as knowing that sashimi is not cooked when served. The fruit salad is a fixed recipe, and any ‘fixing’ which does not match that specific recipe, could be said (let’s say, by a professional chef) to not be a fruit salad. What makes a fruit salad is a matter of knowing what a fruit salad is in the first place; knowledge.

    Wisdom, therefore, is surely the ‘combination-and-permutation-based’ functional application of items of knowledge. One of our cats is wiser than another one of our cats because it evidences a greater level of ‘cat achievement’ than the other; although I assume their knowledge bases are quite the same. That cat’s wisdom, however, can never match that of a 4 year old human. The knowledge bases are different. Wisdom therefore, is an expansion of application, which application requires knowledge to be work upon.

    I would like to think of myself as wiser now than I had been when I was 25. Of course, I know that it is an absolutely true fact that I know a whole lot more now, than I did then, so, I have more knowledge accumulated to act towards wisdom on. Of course, not acting on knowledge at all, or acting in a less positive, productive-in-outcome manner, is going to result in degrees of wisdom. I mean, I find that with my students all the time. (They all get the same knowledge, but they do not all process it to the best possible scenario.)

    So, I would sum up that as with faith, or believing (it’s synonym), wisdom requires content upon which to ‘work.’ That content consists of items of knowledge. Therefore, knowledge is the base we ought to have some great degree of concern about, and that’s where education comes in. (Isn’t that what Malala [please forgive me if I have misspelled the young woman’s name] saying too?)

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