Knowledge vs. Wisdom
Knowledge is information gained from a previous source. It is usually
information gained through someone else’s experience. Often, it is based
on cause and effect, producing a consistent and predictable outcome.
Knowledge is also based on mass belief; sometimes if a lie is told often
enough it becomes a belief, it is thought to be true and therefore
accepted as fact/knowledge.
Most of what we know, and will ever know, will come to us from studying,
observing, repeating and accepting information from someone else’s
discoveries or experiences. This is fantastic, as we can save ourselves a
lot of time and prevent ourselves from making a lot of really bad
decisions, as well as accelerate and assure ourselves of a predictable or
at least probable outcome. The past is an excellent predictor of the
We often view the most knowledgeable people as being the most
intelligent. These days, we place such a high value on knowledge, that
we expect a potential employee to have proof of their knowledge, by
attaining certificates and degrees to prove that they know something.
Being experienced, clever and capable are no longer enough. Things
are becoming really crazy in this area and I think that we have lost the
plot. Although certificates and degrees may be essential in some areas,
and suggest a good basic foundation, they are highly overrated as proof
of a person’s intelligence or ability.
Of course, there are many occupations that do need a firm knowledge
base, but our new love affair with courses and certificates has become
ridiculous. We now expect waitresses to have a cappuccino making
certificate. Fork lift operators, kitchen hands and even the guy who holds
the stop and go signs, are expected to do courses before they can be
deemed smart enough to get a job. It surely doesn’t say much for our
school system, if we think that we require further education before we
qualify for making a cup of coffee.
We are quickly painting ourselves into a corner if we only have one
measure for intelligence. Many great and clever people are falling
through the cracks, and a lot of talent and expertise will be lost. Many
brilliant people simply cannot afford the time or the money to do courses.
Many exceptionally gifted people have limited reading and writing skills,
and although they may well be geniuses at their craft, they just can’t
comprehend written examinations.
Many academics have no common sense and lack communication skills.
Although some people are very good at learning and memorizing, they
totally lack imagination and innovation. In short, knowledge does not
guarantee capability or wisdom. Most importantly though, knowledge
regurgitates the same old – same old.
The down side of knowledge, is that we are obsessed with doing things
the way they have always been done. Universities insist on researching,
referencing and quoting ‘The source.’ So many of the books we read are
filled with quotes from other peoples’ work or are simply a reworded
version of all the other books already written.I was at a seminar not so
long ago and the speaker was one of the world’s most noted Neuro
Scientists. He commented on the fact that scientists have learned more
about the human brain in the last ten years than all the previous years
He also stated that, at this point, they still know very little about the brain.
He added, that by researching past data, they discovered that at least
fifty percent of what had been accepted as fact one hundred years ago
had been proven to be incorrect.
We can only wonder at how much of our current knowledge is one
hundred percent reliable. Let’s not forget that Lobotomies, Electric Shock
and drugs like Thalidomide were wonder treatments only a few years
ago, and that even today we are still using barbaric and dangerous
treatments, as well as accepting incompetent practitioners and specialists.
How do things get better if we keep doing things the way we have always
This brings us to the question of Wisdom. Wisdom is difficult to define or
explain, but for the sake of simplicity we may consider it to include all
knowledge, but with the added advantage of deciphering what is true and
what is not, super intelligence, which does not gain information from only
the past but has the capacity to interpret information from the future. It
does not rely exclusively on data input but incorporates vision, instinct,
intuition, imagination and innovation.
Knowledge may offer a number of ways which have been proven to be
effective, whereas wisdom is in choosing different ways or an even better
way. Simply put, knowledge comes from an external source, but wisdom
comes from an internal knowing.
The Quiet Mind
We probably don’t know for sure where or how wisdom comes, so once
again we find ourselves wondering about God, cosmic intelligence, sub-
conscious awareness and all of the rest. One thing is quite clear though,
and that is, that it usually comes through when we are quiet and relaxed.
Usually perfect solutions to problems; new inventions and profound
insights come when we walk away from intense concentration. It is really
common for people to wake in the night, and find a perfect answer to a
question that they have been struggling to find.
When the mind becomes still, and our awareness is tuned inward, we
have access to unlimited wisdom. By over-educating ourselves, we are
losing our ability to use our imaginations and restricting our natural
creativity. We have become so busy entering data, that we don’t allow
our minds the time to create ideas. We are losing our ability to
communicate with our instincts and senses. We are relying exclusively on
our memories to provide answers, and forgetting how to access better or
We are living in an age in which our minds are constantly stimulated by
external information and noise, many of us are losing or forgetting how to
relax our minds, and in doing so, we are no longer accessing our
personal source of wisdom.
Electricity would never have been invented if we only searched for a
better candle. Planes would not have been invented if we kept flapping
our arms like birds. Cameras were not invented by copying cave art.
Original thought, or at least better thinking, requires imagination, and
imagination stems from quiet introspection.
We think of gluttony as stuffing extraordinary amounts of food into our
bodies, but we are now becoming brain gluttons. We are beginning to
understand the importance of nutrition, digestion and elimination in terms
of food, but perhaps it’s also time to consider the quality of information
that we are taking in, and the importance of digesting and eliminating our
thoughts and beliefs.
Probably, the greatest illusion of all is the belief that man can outsmart
nature, or more precisely, outsmart God. Maybe this illusion is really
more of a delusion, but it sure is popular. The most obvious example of
this, is in our understanding of our own bodies. Weight loss products,
nutritional supplements and medications will be found in almost every
home in the developed world. Billions and billions of dollars are
generated, and yet, we are fat, stressed, tired, depressed and
constipated. Indigestion, adult onset diabetes, heart disease, arthritis,
high blood pressure, hyperglycaemia, hormonal imbalances, headaches,
yeast infections, impotence and allergies are just a few of the maladies
which are caused by, or maintained by, bad food choices.
We just refuse to believe that food can be an answer to health. We are
oh so intelligent and sophisticated, that we want scientific explanations
before we will even consider such a pre-historic idea, as eating plant
matter. If you tell an obese person to eat less food, and someone else
offers them an appetite suppressant, then nine times out of ten, they will
opt for the pill. A constipated person will avoid eating fibre, but is happy
to take a laxative. We spend more on vitamin supplements than we do on
fruit and vegetables. We would be horrified to see someone pour fat
down the kitchen sink, but think nothing of filling our arteries with it. Our
kids are bouncing off walls from the sugar they eat, but we still insist on
referring to it as a treat and use it as a reward.
Food is probably the easiest thing in the world to figure out. Eat when
you are hungry, eat as much, but not more, than you need, and eat
foods as close to their natural state as possible.
Water also seems to be becoming an optional extra, and more and more
people are treating it like it has become redundant. Many people have
exchanged water for more popular man made alternatives, such as tea,
coffee, soft drinks and alcohol which greatly compromise health and
vitality. Even worse than this is the trend of almost avoiding liquid in any
form. Dehydration is another cause of many health problems and still
people cannot connect the dots.
Sunlight, greatly influences the brain, particularly in relation to our moods
and general well being, as well as being a source of vitamins and a
cancer prevention agent. Many people in today’s world live exclusively
under artificial light, and no longer know the difference between night
and day. Not only are they missing out on the health giving aspects of
natural sunlight, but they may well be doing a great deal of harm by
being exposed to artificial light. We may be questioning such things as
radiation from microwaves, phones, computers and most electrical
appliances, and yet we still insist on living within this sea of radiation, and
completely neglecting the health giving rays of the sun.
Air has also become an old fashioned concept, or at least a trivialized or
underrated force of life. We live and work in buildings without opening
windows, and rarely venture outdoors, constantly breathing in what
others have breathed out, and marvelling at manipulating the seasons.
Rarely, do we stop and allow our bodies to fill up on life giving oxygen,
and even our idea of exercise is now restricted to an air-conditioned gym.
Exercise, and indeed basic body movement, has also become
superseded. Our bodies are screaming out in a language of aches, pains
and stiffness. Our immune systems are compromised and our muscles
are atrophied. Circulation is greatly impeded and our energy levels are
plummeting down so far, that it’s hard to tell if we are awake or asleep.
We now use our fingers to do almost everything we used to use our
entire bodies to do. Our bums are spreading across our sofas, our joints
are becoming calcified and our hands are becoming deformed with R.S.I.
but still we look to the medicine chest for our answers.
Noise is also just another accepted fact of life. We wake up and switch on
the radio, spend the day surrounded by noise, and come home and turn
on the music or T.V. Occasionally, we head off to somewhere quiet for a
holiday and find ourselves wondering what that strange sound is, only to
realize that it is silence. Not only do we function within an external
cacophony, but we very rarely allow our own minds to be silent.
Consistent noise can be another stress factor, but most of us are so
accustomed to it, that we rarely even notice it anymore. When noise is
particularly loud or unpleasant, we can feel quite shattered by it. Jack
hammers, barking dogs, loud music and partying neighbours can send
us into a screaming rage, as they are noticeably stressful.
Even sex has been reinvented, and once again a highly marketable
commodity; a vicarious sport or entertainment for many, and to some
very large degree, a form of barter in a commercial world. The very thing,
which should connect people, has been reduced to just another product
or service. In a myriad of opinions and confusion, we torment ourselves
with shame, guilt, embarrassment and comparisons. We allow ourselves
to be treated as objects and treat each other that way. We will even
acknowledge that sex can be a form of violence, and accept that sexual
partners are nothing more than disposable toys. People will often feel
quite self-conscious about even discussing sex as a loving experience,
and more often than not, find that dirty jokes and double meanings are
more socially acceptable.
Body image or body awareness is probably the greatest illusion
Your body is your home and your vehicle. It renews, protects and repairs
itself. It is the ultimate source of pleasure and the single most important
thing you will ever own. If we just stopped for a moment and considered
our own brain, with even a most limited understanding, we would
acknowledge that there will never be a computer with this amount of
function or potential. Medical science will never compete with the immune
system. Science will never fully understand such a masterpiece.
We may travel the world and marvel at buildings, we may be in awe of
medical advances, astounded by computers, impressed by machinery,
technology and commerce. We seem to respect and appreciate these
things and often know more about how they work, what they are worth
and how to maintain them than we know about our own bodies.
Many people are so disconnected from or oblivious to their body that the
only time they acknowledge it is when something goes wrong. Many
adults don’t even know where their vital organs are. Some people are
embarrassed about their body and others seem to dislike their body.
Many people abuse and neglect themselves or act as if they are
ashamed or disappointed with their body.
A huge number of people only think of their bodies in terms of their
appearance. Women in particular, can be obsessive if not downright
neurotic about skin texture and fat cells. Few women know what their
blood pressure, cholesterol, sugar or hormonal levels are, but they all
know their weight and when the last wrinkle appeared. Rarely, do we
wonder about our bones or blood nor do we give much thought to our
kidneys, liver or heart.
It’s not just our bodies that we disconnect from, it’s also the actual life
process that we seem to be avoiding or disregarding. It appears to me,
that many people view their lives as some kind of dodgem car track.
Many will accelerate hard and smack everyone else out of the way and
others just fumble around anticipating the next collision. Some are just
completely focused on manoeuvring around to avoid any contact and
others just hand over the control to someone else and sit there in terror.
I’m not suggesting that I have the answers either, but I do believe that I
have a choice in how I perceive myself and my experience. Maybe it is
just a big cosmic joke and we are all just pawns in someone else’s chess
game. It might have started out as a big bang and now it’s just be a
series of little sparks. It could be a testing ground and it may be a prison,
perhaps even just a predestined series of events. All things considered,
it may all just be shadows on the wall.
I’m pretty sure we will all find out in the end and I believe it will be a
perfect plan with a brilliant purpose. My view is that it is an honour to be a
participant, inhabiting this body is a privilege and experiencing this
physical realm is an ongoing, magnificent adventure. I believe judgment
day will be my final days when I look back and view everything in its
totality. I don’t want regrets, I don’t want to imagine that I may have
squandered it all, I want to know that I added something of significance. I
want to know that I paid attention to its beauty, acknowledged and
respected the other participants, evolved and improved as I progressed
and ultimately actualized my full potential. I really do believe that I create
my reality each day, by the thoughts I entertain and the love I give and
take. Above all, I don’t want to think that I ever took for granted the gift of
inhabiting this body and the honour of living this spectacular adventure.
Copyright Sonya Green 2006
Illusions - Are we thinking our own thoughts?
Knowledge vs Wisdom
(Part 2) sonya green
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