Seven Pillars of Wisdom is the monumental work that assured T.E. Lawrence’s place in history as “Lawrence of Arabia.” Not only a consummate military history, but also a colorful epic and a lyrical exploration of the mind of a great man, this is one of the indisputable classics of 20th century English literature. Line drawings throughout.
Consider the saga of Elmo Zumwalt II, admiral in the U.S. Navy. He was responsible for the decision to spray the controversial and carcinogenic “agent orange” on the banks of the rivers in Vietnam to defoliate them. Many U.S. soldiers were inflicted with cancer as a result. His own son, Elmo Zumwalt III, was among them! Was it then a wise decision? Most strategists believe that many more lives would have been lost had the Vietcong had the cover of the forest to continue sniping at our patrol boats. Even as Elmo III lay dying, he supported his father’s decision.
Many believe thousands of lives were saved when President Truman hastened the end of World War II by his decision to drop atomic bombs. Churchill did not warn his people of a known air raid so the Germans would not discover we had broken their code. Many died but we kept a great strategic advantage.
And how often every day are doctors, scientists, leaders, police, judges, and maybe even yourself called upon to make decisions that may have serious, even life and death, effects on one’s self or others? How often are people hurt by unwise actions? How often by your or my foolishness?
Foolishness is just lack of wisdom. Conversely we may say that wisdom is knowledge righteously and appropriately applied.
We all exercise good and bad judgments daily, but even our wisest decisions seem to fall short. Our best efforts may mitigate a problem but who has the ability to stop or prevent the problem?
Truly it can be said that the world is wise according to the laws and principles of man. But, I Corinthians 3:19, “the wisdom of this world is foolishness with God. For it is written, He taketh the wise in their own craftiness.” This scripture indicates that the good examples of the wisdom of the world we have seen are, at best, damage control. For who has the perfect wisdom to prevent any or all of the evils of this present day?
We can all agree there is no shortage of wise acres, wise crackers, wise guys, wisenheimers, or sophomores (literally “wise morons”). But where are the “Solomons”?
About the Author
T. E. Lawrence, 1888-1935
Col. Thomas Edward Lawrence (August 16, 1888 – May 18, 1935), also known as Lawrence of Arabia, became famous for his role as a British liaison officer during the Arab Revolt of 1916-1918. His fame as a soldier was largely promoted by U.S. traveller and journalist Lowell Thomas’s reportage of the Revolt, as well as Lawrence’s autobiographical account, Seven Pillars of Wisdom.