DAVID FLAKE: Knowledge for its own sake is what really matters.
BOB CARPENTER: Pshaw. What's the use of knowledge if it doesn't get me a job?
FLAKE: Yes. Lower levels of knowledge are useful. But the highest level of wisdom does not accomplish something and doesn't need to.
CARPENTER: So, you're saying that my knowledge of carpentry is inferior to your liberal arts knowledge?
CARPENTER: Well, it's no wonder that you're not working.
FLAKE: Not working, though, gives me time to absorb knowledge from my experience of my surroindings.
CARPENTER: How's that?
FLAKE: For example, I learned yesterday that ginger root helped my friend get well after he became ill after lunch. On Friday, I noticed that my dog enjoys playing with the kittens next door. Also, I know all about black holes after my astronomy class at the university.
CARPENTER: Why don't you think about what you can do with that knowledge. Apply it. For instance, why did the ginger root cure your friend?
FLAKE: I don't know. And I don't want to know.
CARPENTER: How can you apply what you know about your dog enjoying kittens? Your dog is special. Don't you know that?
FLAKE: I haven't thought about that.
CARPENTER: Well, think about it.
I learned long ago how to build houses and today many people live happily and warmly in the houses I have built. My knowledge of building gives me a good income. I support my wife and two kids because of my knowledge of building.
You can't even support yourself. So-called higher learning is impractical.
CARPENTER: (Shakes Flake's shoulders until he revives.) What's the matter with you? Aha! Did you eat today?
FLAKE: N-n-no. I have no food.
CARPENTER: Here's twenty dollars. Buy some supper. And take home a big doggy bag.
Based on an excerpt from A History of Philosophy, Copleston, Frederick, S.J., "The Metaphysics of Aristotle".