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Published September 05, 2009, 12:00 AM

BeefTalk: Knowledge and wisdom should be the goal

There are weeks where the pace of our lives overcomes the point of most discussions. We sometimes struggle finding what the point was. Some would say it’s the pace at which we live, so get used to it.

By: Kris Ringwall, NDSU Extension, The Dickinson Press

There are weeks where the pace of our lives overcomes the point of most discussions. We sometimes struggle finding what the point was. Some would say it’s the pace at which we live, so get used to it.

While the pace is hectic, perhaps it is not very realistic. The other day, I had breakfast in Kansas City and traveled 600 miles to Denver for brunch. After that, it was another 600 miles to Dickinson for lunch and then 300 miles to Fargo for supper.

Some would say that is excessive, but the fact remains that such schedules are doable as those in business know.

At least for domestic travel, I am fully vaccinated, bunk broke, water trained and even have some age on me. However, I still ended up in the sick pen the next week.

Just like cattle, with a couple of days to recover, life goes on. Not only do we tend to move at a fast pace, the real challenge is that the expectations move into all that we do at the same (or faster) speed.

We expect our perception of the world to follow us, so that becomes the heart of our current dilemma. Recent news articles have been very pointed at a food industry that has tried and continues to try to meet the demands of a mobile, demanding client.

The heart of the issue is not the failings of systems that try their best to keep up with our expectations, but rather our demands in the first place.

When those around us simply don’t understand during times like this, we really should ponder and realize that no matter what we do, there are only two outcomes. One outcome is based on reality and the other on perception.

In the case of beef, the matters are complicated by numerous systems of production that interact on a daily basis within a very horizontal industry. Many players do not need to, nor desire to, interconnect because their success is not determined by the success of the whole.

This is sad but true. It reminded me of the experimental methods in animal research class at Oklahoma State University. The late professor Joe Whiteman taught the class.

In a relatively loud voice, Whiteman instilled in us very quickly that the life we have is not something to be taken for granted. The many processes that we undertake to educate ourselves must be forthright, objective and well thought out.

In the end, do we challenge ourselves intellectually to seek better or do we simply except the status quo and survive? For mankind to benefit, knowledge must be obtained.

Knowledge is this vast amount of information that is preserved or stored within our culture that ultimately needs to be utilized for our benefit. The source of knowledge is science, a systematic process that records information.

The use of knowledge is called wisdom. In theory, with wisdom some good should come to us. Whiteman reminded us of two quotes.

The first quote was from Sir Francis Bacon and said, "Read not to contradict and confute, nor to believe and take for granted, but to weigh and consider."

The second quote was from Lord Byron and reads, "To be perfectly original, one should think much and read little, and this is impossible for one must have read before one has learned to think."

Well, the bottom line is one can quickly conclude there are many confused processes today that in reality, the proponents should have sat through professor Whiteman's class. However, he is not here to teach anymore, but that doesn't mean those who read cannot appreciate it.

In the end, we must be careful not to simply come to believe that how we live is how we should live. The reality is the fact that knowledge and gained wisdom would suggest differently.

May you find all your ear tags.

Your comments are always welcome at www.BeefTalk.com.

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