A Year of Enlitenment

(Illustration by Francisco Caceres)
By Joe Heim, Justin Rude and Dan Zak
Washington Post Staff Writers
Sunday, November 16, 2008

Life, which is big, is really about small things. It's also about using the knowledge of small things to reach for big ideas. It's also about using the words "big" and "small" as often as possible.

In this spirit, we have expanded our small weekly column into a big cover story to celebrate the one-year anniversary of Three Wise Guys. Actually, our first column ran Nov. 4 of last year but, like most guys, we tend to forget anniversaries. Small mistake. Big deal.

The questions for this Manniversary Super Spectacular are the ones we know you've been dying to ask. That's why we've asked them for you. They are the eternal questions that all of the great thinkers of history have thunk upon. Those great thinkers, through quotations attributed to them over centuries, anticipated our arrival in 2007.

"What you know, you know. What you don't know, you don't know," Confucius said. "This is true wisdom."


"I have no special talents," Einstein said. "I am only passionately curious."

That's us!

"I have offended God and mankind because my work didn't reach the quality it should have," da Vinci said.

Speak for yourself, Leo.

We look to all of these great men for inspiration. We are moved by the brilliance we share with them. Sometimes we hear them speak those lines to us. Especially Leonardo. Except they're in Italian, so we don't really understand.

By channeling the great minds of the past and thinking really hard ourselves, we have finally been able to tackle the 10 questions whose answers had once seemed eternally elusive. Click here to have your mind blown.

For those of you who hate us, this will be your worst nightmare. For those who like us -- or, dare we say, love us -- we hope this pondering and wisecracking will give you both a celebratory dose of 3WG and a giddy infusion of insight.

© 2008 The Washington Post Company