Cultural References Other Explanations MBT B1S2C22
Expansion upon the Right Attitude To Obtain Wisdom
Note that this page awaits Tom Campbell's review and possible corrections and expansion.
This chapter contains a key statement within the third paragraph as follows: "You need to be wise in order to choose the belief system that can make you appear to be wise so that you do not have to earn wisdom through experience and actually become wise." This statement confuses many readers and translators as to its meaning and thus as to how to translate it properly. Here follows a link to the pages on Google Books (Chapter 22, pages 161 and following) where this appears for your convenience in following this discussion. 
This page and the following of My Big TOE must be taken as one context. Tom Campbell tends to write so that a chapter is a logical whole. This is the normal way of writing longer works. You frequently cannot just take a sentence isolated to itself and understand it without taking it in the context of what came before and what comes after. In a logically developing work such as this, that is how the concepts are normally developed. This is one of the more extreme cases of this situation. In the first two paragraphs, Tom is really explaining why what he says there at the beginning of the third paragraph cannot happen, is impossible. He is explaining that there are no shortcuts to becoming wise. In the first paragraph, he is explaining that believing in something does not work in terms of making you wise and can only give you information which is not the same as wisdom. In the second paragraph, he is describing how persons try to take a shortcut to wisdom by 'believing' in something and why this cannot work. In the third paragraph, where this question arises, he is stating a logical impossibility, a contradiction. Deliberately stating something in contradictory terms to show that it is impossible. It is not surprising that the sentence makes no sense to you as it does make no sense and was not intended to. It was rather intended to make a point of its not being possible and not making sense. He then follows this first sentence of the paragraph with the point towards which he has been heading: "There are no shortcuts. You must develop the quality of your being through your personal experience." This is another way of stating what he has said frequently elsewhere, 'there is no free lunch'. There is nothing in which you can believe that can give you anything but information and not wisdom, no matter if you just happen to decide to believe the right thing or not. Now with this in mind, re read that sentence and see if it makes sense in the context. It states an impossibility, a contradiction. That you must already be wise in order to pick the right thing to believe in that would make you actually wise as a shortcut to wisdom. That is, there is no such shortcut to wisdom. The only way that you can become wise is to do the work required to actually become wise. It is not perhaps the clearest thing that Tom Campbell ever wrote, but it was deliberately done, so written, as a teaching aide to force the concept through to the reader.
The best way to translate that sentence is literally as it is stated, in any given language in order to preserve the teaching intent, create a dissonance and force introspection. the idea is that you are stating an impossibility and it IS supposed to stop you in your tracks and make you think your way through it in detail and with care, realizing that it is contradictory. Do they have a version of an old joke in your country that goes on about how someone traveling is asking a local how to get from where he is to some other particular point? The local tries to tell him a route but keeps having to restart and restate as he finds it difficult to explain the details of the route in an understandable way to someone who does not already know the territory. Finally he tells the traveler in frustration, "you just can't get there from here". What Tom Campbell is saying has echoes of that joke. You cannot become wise (get there) by taking on some kind of belief system (a verbal or graphic map) that will make you appear wise and somehow magically therefore be wise (teleport you there) without traveling the intervening distance the 'hard way'. You can't get there from here by any route except the long and hard one of actually becoming wise by the long and difficult process of developing wisdom within yourself by developing yourself. As the chapter is titled, you must have the right attitude.
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