Study Guide

Jurassic Park Wisdom and Knowledge

By Michael Crichton

Wisdom and Knowledge

There's a boatload of smarty-pants experts in Jurassic Park: scientists, engineers, geneticists, coders, you name it. But how many of these people are actually able to predict what will happen once the park is up and running? Pretty much none of them—it takes a few disinterested outsiders to even notice there's any problem at all. Very few of the uber-knowledgeable characters in the novel have the wisdom to see where their work is taking them.

In other words, knowledge and wisdom are not the same. Knowledge may someday tell us how to clone a Tyrannosaur, but wisdom should then say: "Don't. Just don't." The designers of Jurassic Park were warned that their endeavor would lead to disaster, but they didn't listen. They knew too much… and too little.

Questions About Wisdom and Knowledge

  1. Who is the wisest character in Jurassic Park? Who is the least wise?
  2. What types of knowledge were needed to build Jurassic Park?
  3. Why does Arnold distrust Malcolm's theorizing?
  4. How does Grant's knowledge of dinosaurs keep him alive?

Chew on This

Malcolm isn't especially wise. He simply has a different kind of technical knowledge that allows him to predict the park's failure.

Malcolm predicts the park's failure because his mathematical theory calculates it—and because he has the wisdom to see the inevitable result.