Developing a “Wise” Society

John LiptakIn our knowledge-based society, in which people are often rewarded for their knowledge, it is often hard to tell the difference between knowledge and wisdom.  Many people spend years attaining formal education and degrees, but still lack basic wisdom about how to live.  These life skills are critical in the personal and professional success of your clients and/or students.

The differences between knowledge and wisdom may seem small, but they actually are immense.  Knowledge is the theoretical understanding of a subject that is gained through learning, perception, or reasoning.  Knowledge is the objective acquisition of information to increases your skill or expertise.  Wisdom, on the other hand, is the objective acquisition of information followed by the subjective examination of that information for patterns, for understanding, and then application in your life.

Roger Walsh, in his book Essential Spirituality, suggests that knowledge and wisdom are very different entities.  He eloquently explains the differences in this way:

  • Knowledge informs us, wisdom transforms us;
  • Knowledge is something we have, wisdom is something we must become;
  • Knowledge is expressed in words, wisdom is expressed in our lives; and
  • Knowledge empowers, wisdom empowers and enlightens.

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