Fear of the Lord
Proverbs is pretty explicit when is comes to wisdom and folly; there aren't any gray areas, one is either wise or a fool. Verse 7 says, "the fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge; fools despise wisdom and instruction."
In the first part of the verse Solomon says that 'knowledge' begins with fear of the Lord. He doesn't specify what type of 'knowledge' he is referring to and based on the context and purpose of this verse I think its safe to assume that he isn't speaking about any specific kind, rather, he is speaking about knowldge in general.
So if we take Solomon at his word here we see that ALL knowledge begins with the fear of the Lord. Knowledge of the universe, physics, biology, mathmatics, and yes even how to hit a curveball all begin with fear of the Lord. I know this might seem absurd, especially that last one, but let's define some terms and then look at the big picture.
'Fear of the Lord' is the realization that God is God and we are not, and because of that we live our lives in awe, and fear, of who and what he is...namely the creator of everything we will ever see, feel, taste, touch, or smell, of everything we won't ever see, feel, taste, touch, or smell and oh yeah, of us too.
So if 'fear of the Lord' is the beginning of 'knowledge', this means that everything we know and ever will know is rooted in the fact that God is God and we are not; we are the createe not the Creator. People who understand this are called wise.
Plenty of people, however, refuse to accept this view. Solomon has a name for them too, fools. The last part of the verse states that 'fools despise wisdom and instruction.' If knowledge is based in the fear of the Lord and is gained through instruction, and wisdom is that same knowledge coupled with experience, it is clear that fools do not 'fear the Lord.' In fact later in Proverbs Solomon goes on to say 'the fool says in his heart there is no God,'
We live in a created world and we have the choice to live in awe, reverance, and fear of the Creator, which would be wise, or we can choose to ignore the Creator and pretend we are him, which would be very, very foolish. The choice is ours, but a quick glance at pretty much any book of the Bible will show us that folly never works out for the fool.