It is better to have practical knowledge in life rather than mastering theory.
An intriguing story about 2 scholarly parrots who had learned everything there was to learn. But did all that knowledge help at the nick of time?
Enjoy this animated video or listen to author Prem Rawat, eloquently address this topic in the audiobook Splitting the Arrow - Understanding the Business of Life.
The story is about a person who loved to raise parrots. One day he decided he really wanted to raise some very, very special parrots. So he went and bought two eggs, and very soon after, the eggs began to hatch.
So the man started to raise them. He tried to teach the parrots everything he could. He taught them about Newton’s physics laws. He taught them about formulas. He even played music for them.
And by the time these parrots grew old, they could recite incredible formulas.
They could quote from great literature! They could say the most amazing things.
They could even squawk an entire symphony of Beethoven in perfect tune. Then one day, unfortunately, the man died, and the parrots were left all alone.
The relatives came, saw the parrots in the cage, and decided who was going to take care of them. “Maybe the best thing would be to release them,” said one of the relatives. And so they did.
Now, these parrots had never learned how to fly. So they let them out on the tree right next to the window, and they crawled along the branches and sat there looking around. This was a new experience for them. And to their great surprise, they saw another parrot sitting on a branch higher up.
So they struck up a conversation, and the conversation went something like this: “Look at all the things we know. We know about literature! We know about music. We know all sorts of scientific formulas.” And in all the things they were saying, they were really trying to impress the other parrot—and he was getting very, very impressed.
But just then, out of the corner of his eye, he saw a cat—and the cat had definitely detected the parrots, and was starting to climb up the tree!
So the other parrot looked at the two parrots and said, “Do you know how to fly?” And they said, “Of course! We know how to fly. We know everything about the flight. High pressure is created at the bottom of the wing. Low pressure is created at the top of the wing. And because of that, yes, we can fly!”
“No, no, no. I’m not talking about the formula. I’m talking about, ‘Do you really know how to fly?’” And they said, “But we know so much! We know all these incredible formulas. We know these symphonies. Surely if we don’t know one little thing, what difference could that make?”
And as he saw the cat coming closer and closer, he flapped his wings, took flight and said, “Good luck. Because that one thing you don’t know, you really need to know. And because you don’t know that one thing, all that you do know isn’t going to do you any good.”