“Knowledge is knowing that a tomato is a fruit. Wisdom is knowing not to put it in a fruit salad.”
That quote is a great example to settle the debate about wisdom vs knowledge. There’s no denying that both wisdom and knowledge are closely correlated when they are used to enhance life awareness. However, each term comes in distinctive definitions and aspects. The comparison between them can give you the insight to decide which one is more important: being knowledgeable or being wise.
Wisdom vs Knowledge: Differences by Definition
Knowledge is defined as the collections of data, facts, ideas, and information you have got and will get throughout your life. You can acquire knowledge in many ways, including study, research, observation, and experience. Knowledge can also be gained when you read books, surf the internet, or watch the news.
When you have lots of knowledge, you will be knowledgeable. It means that you have enough information and understanding about certain subjects. As a result, you will be confident to use them for different purposes, whether to find the solution to a problem or handle your everyday activities.
Wisdom, on the other hand, is much deeper and greater than knowledge. Mostly gained through life experience, wisdom is the exceptional ability to correctly judge, decide, and discern any knowledge you have acquired. By being wise, you will be able to decide whether something is right or wrong. You can also explain the meaning and reasons behind your knowledge and its application in life.
To put those definitions into perspective, a knowledgeable person can answer the questions that begin with ‘what’. Meanwhile, a wise person can explain a certain subject more thorough when you ask ‘why’ or ‘how’.
Other Different Aspects of Wisdom and Knowledge
Besides the differences in meaning and definitions, you can compare the differences in knowledge and wisdom based on several aspects. These include time aspect, source, and the effects they produce on your life.
Knowledge and wisdom are affected by time. Both may increase from time to time, as you develop your cognitive, mental, and emotional state. Despite this, time has a more direct effect on knowledge rather than wisdom. It is commonly believed that the longer you learn, the more knowledgeable you are.
This rule, however, doesn’t apply to wisdom. The state of being wise cannot be measured by how long you live or learn. For instance, it is possible for someone who has lived for 50 years to make an unwise decision. In contrast, someone who learned a particular subject for 15 years can be proven to have more knowledge than those who only learned for 5 years.
Another aspect that can distinguish knowledge from wisdom is the sources you use to acquire them. Knowledge is gained through more definite sources. To be more knowledgeable, you can sharpen the logical thought by having proper education, taking classes, learning facts, or even conducting researches.
On the other hand, gaining wisdom is not that simple. It is mostly based on indefinite sources, such as self-intuition, personal experience, moral characters, and subjective perception. No formal or scheduled education can turn you into a wiser person. Instead, wisdom comes from within. Being wise is achieved when you let yourself think, judge, and consider different aspects of life to decide anything that matters.
A knowledgeable person is usually more confident when interacting with others. By having a lot of knowledge, you will also be more interested and engaged in life. Also, knowledge can contribute to your personal success by providing more opportunities.
If you think knowledge bring lots of positive effects, wisdom can give you a lot more. By gaining wisdom, you will know how to have a meaningful life. Moreover, you can improve morality and practicality in your life as well as use your knowledge in better ways.
Some Examples Regarding Wisdom vs Knowledge
Despite all differences, wisdom and knowledge are linked and correlated. In addition to personal experience, wisdom is based on knowledge. Meanwhile, knowledge might be misguided or misdirected when you use it without wisdom.
One interesting example is when you read a book about starting up a business. At first glance, it is safe to assume that you gained knowledge about business from what you read. However, if you are wise, you can use that knowledge to set up a business that will benefit you in the future.
Another example is when watching a documentary about how to save the environment. Knowledgeable groups may master the theory of reducing and recycling, but wise people will start a good habit while applying that theory to their everyday life.
That concludes the comparison of wisdom vs knowledge. After identifying the essential differences about both, now you can understand what makes knowledge different from wisdom, and conversely, what makes wisdom greater than knowledge. In the end, whether you choose to be a knowledgeable person, a wise man, or try to be both, it all comes down to you—as well as the knowledge and wisdom inside you.