We have been taught that knowledge and wisdom are one in the same. I have always argued that these two concepts are different. Although they may be interchangeable, I genuinely see them as two separate schools of learning. I have previously explained my view on knowledge and why I believe knowledge is a separate concept from wisdom. Now, let us investigate wisdom and it's relationship to knowledge.
Let's Talk Wisdom.
Wisdom is often defined as "the ability to discern inner qualities and relationships; insight."
What makes a person wise? The answer is simple. Life. Unlike knowledge, wisdom is acquired through living our daily lives. There is no guide, no books we could read, no documentaries... only through experience do we become wiser.
Many times, people refer to elderly individuals as "the wise ones." Although this can be debated, I must agree with the statement because many elders have experienced the struggles that we have as well. This allows them to provide feedback that is able to help us grow. These wise words affect us and how we move forward with our lives. It just depends on if we decide to take their advice or not.
Attaining wisdom occurs everyday of our lives, although we often do not see it at first. It is not until we look back on a moment that we recognize that we have become wise. We learn things through our experiences with others and through our life situations. We become introspective and begin to understand everything about what we have experienced. We are often able to give advice to others because we ourselves have experienced what they have... meaning we are able to empathize. Because of this factor, we give more meaningful advice and often have more meaningful conversations.
Let's refer back to the example that I used in my previous post:
Like I said, being adopted provided many challenges for me. I often felt alone because I was the only child who was adopted growing up. None of the other children could understand why I had struggled making friends or interacting with others. However, when I finally met other adopted individuals as I grew older, they were able to relate to me and provide me with their wisdom of how they were able to deal with others and related to my struggles of finding my family and questioning myself. I was angry at my adoptive family for giving me up. However, they helped me understand the potential why they had to, and therefore I was able to understand the potential circumstance and continue moving forward with my life in a positive manner.
This example of wisdom shows the empathy that other individuals possess to help guide you along your journey in life. You can learn many things, but being able to apply what you learn is what makes you wise. Wisdom encourages a life of trial and error. Knowledge seems to only encourage learning to better understand a topic.
Wisdom and knowledge are similar yet each have different qualities and attributes that separate them. Wisdom and knowledge are not the same thing. You can classify knowledge as "book smart" and wisdom as "street smart." Therefore, knowledgeable people are not always wise and visa versa. I like to be knowledgeable, but I would prefer to be wise and continue to gain knowledge that will help me better my life. Only through action does knowledge become wisdom.