Knowledge Vs. Wisdom: What is the Difference?

Authored or posted by | April 7, 2014
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T.S. Eliot once said, “Where is the wisdom we have lost in knowledge? Where is the knowledge we have lost in information?” This quote provides insight into the differences between knowledge and wisdom and illustrates the importance of prioritizing and passing on information in societies.

What is the difference between knowledge and wisdom?

While knowledge and wisdom are quite interconnected in many ways, a lot of people often mistake them for the same thing when in fact they are quite different. According to the English dictionary, knowledge is “information of which someone is aware.” By contrast, wisdom is defined as “the ability to make correct judgments and decisions. It is an intangible quality gained presumably through experience.”

Knowledge is gained through learning and education and is an expression of analysis and logical thought; it is a product of the time in which we live and can actually change as our understanding of the world does. Wisdom is timeless and based on our personal experience. It comes from our intuition and understanding of what is right and wrong. In this sense, knowledge is the accumulation of information and wisdom is synthesizing our knowledge and experiences into a set of values upon which we act. As puts it, “knowledge is a tool and wisdom is the craft in which the tool is used.”

Distinguishing between the two is incredibly important, particularly in this day and age when information is right at our fingertips. Any one of us can go online to educate ourselves about nearly any subject there is; therefore, it is relatively easy to obtain information. But this knowledge doesn’t make us wise or teach us what to do with that knowledge or the value of it.

Defining knowledge and wisdom in simple terms

Here is an excerpt from an article I wrote on my other website about knowledge versus wisdom.

What is knowledge and wisdom? Knowledge is information that you acquire from studying certain subjects or from others. Wisdom is acquired knowledge that you have applied into your life to create experiences to help you understand the knowledge at a deeper level. Wisdom is gained through experience and it bonds with you at an intuitive level. It comes from deep within your soul and guides you to achieve your goals.

Once you understand the difference between knowledge and wisdom, you should realize that our society places too much emphasis on knowledge these days. Since the day we learn how to effectively communicate as children, we are taught by society to think that the more information we obtain, the happier we will be and the more fulfilled our lives will become. This way of thinking isn’t very effective for helping us achieve happiness and fulfillment. What we need to do is learn how to turn knowledge into wisdom, because it is wisdom that helps us find inner peace, which is important for achieving happiness and fulfillment. The question now is, how do we get there?

How to turn knowledge into wisdom

For starters, it is important to know that wisdom isn’t something one can easily acquire through reading or studying information. You can’t simply go buy books and read them and become wise. Turning a topic of information into wisdom happens over time through your experience. Once you allow the information to sink in and you apply it into your life in a effective way that helps you understand the information at a very deep level, you have turned the knowledge into wisdom.

In certain cases, wisdom can be achieved through self-reflection. Take a step back and consider life in its whole grand scheme, and think to yourself “what is important from this experience? What is it telling or teaching me?” Asking such questions can help evoke your inner voice or intuitive feeling, which is the root of wisdom.

To inspire you to self-reflect, pick up a book of a great philosopher or spiritual leader. Again, a book won’t make you wise, but certain teachings can help you start asking the right questions that will awaken your inner wisdom.

Finally, listen and observe those around you. Look for meaning in little things and soak up your experiences to the fullest. Life isn’t just a series of one thing after the next. Life is filled with moments that are rich, deep, and full of meaning. It is up to you to recognize these moments and see what lessons you can learn from them to enrich your life experience.



This articles was written by Kate and PL.

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