Atanu Dey On India's Development

Knowledge is Sorrow

Knowledge is sorrow; they who know the most
Must mourn the deepest o’er the fatal truth,
The Tree of Knowledge is not that of Life.

— George Gordon Noel, Lord Byron


  1. Well, in Hindu philosophy, there are, from a certain perspective, three planes of existence – the animal, the mental, and the spiritual. The mental plane is one in which the intellect has managed to overcome the animal urges of the body, but is ravaged by pessimism when it applies those freed up resources to thought concerning the world around it. I would argue that this is the space of Knowledge which your quote refers to. There is however another space of Knowledge which offers a chance to enjoy the fruits of both the Tree of Knowledge and the Tree of Life, and that is the third plane – the spiritual plane – where the intellect transcends a “fatal truth” and reaches a state of being where enjoyment in “what is” becomes the only occupation.

  2. quite pessimistic this byron chappie… but then again… this is merely melancholy poetry…

  3. Complete knowledge gives infinite hapiness.