Knowledge and wisdom are two words whose definitions are often intertwined and confused with. However, not everyone is aware that these two terms have a big difference in their meaning.
Knowledge vs Wisdom
The difference between knowledge and wisdom lies in their definition. Knowledge is when one acquires information through reading or listening. Most of the time, people gain their first knowledge in schools when they start studying. Knowledge can be acquired by anyone.
On the other side, when one uses the pieces of information acquired, or what we call knowledge, to make decisions and judgment, it then becomes wisdom. Wisdom is in a higher category compared to knowledge.
However, one cannot have wisdom, or cannot be called wise, if they do not have knowledge. And one’s knowledge is not enough if they do not use it to become wise.
This means that the two terms must come together hand-in-hand for someone to make good decisions in life.
Comparison Table Between Knowledge and Wisdom (in Tabular Form)
|Parameter of Comparison||Knowledge||Wisdom|
|Use of information||Store and acquire information||Apply the information to make decisions|
|How to acquire||Read books, listen to classes||Use knowledge in daily experience|
|Use knowledge in daily experience||Can easily change overtime||Timeless and limitless|
|Application||Used to answer exams and common questions||Uses to make judgement and wise decisions|
|Who has them?||Anyone who reads or goes to school||People who know how to properly use knowledge|
What is Knowledge?
Knowledge is the term used for acquired information. These pieces of information can be gained through experience, learning, reading and listening to classes.
This information should be retained in one’s long term memory so it could be considered as knowledge. People who read a lot and know about a lot of different things under different topics are considered knowledgeable.
A scientist has a large knowledge of science and a doctor will have a lot of knowledge about medicine.
As people grow older, they gain more and more knowledge about their field and also about other topics.
Almost everyone can have the knowledge, anyone who reads or goes to school can be considered knowledgeable. Knowledge is very easy to acquire as long as one is willing to learn.
What is Wisdom?
Wisdom is when one uses their knowledge into good use and applies it to their daily lives. This can be applied when choosing between different options or when considering if certain actions are good or bad.
Wisdom is usually paired with moral aspects. To be wise, one must always choose what is right based on the facts and knowledge one has. If they do not use their knowledge correctly, they cannot have wisdom.
To be wise, one must learn how to think and act in accordance to what their society believes is correct and right through the use of their acquired knowledge.
Main Differences Between Knowledge and Wisdom
- Knowledge is the result of gaining information and wisdom is the result of using knowledge in daily life application. If one reads, they learn and acquire knowledge but once the person uses their knowledge to make decisions like knowing what is right and wrong, then it becomes wisdom.
- Knowledge can be acquired through reading and learning while wisdom can be acquired with knowledge and experience. Wisdom is greatly dependent on knowledge. For one to be knowledgeable, they need to read and learn. Having the right resources such as books and a mentor will be enough to gain knowledge. But wisdom can be acquired through having enough knowledge and daily life experience where one can apply their knowledge like in choosing between two options and in judging different aspects of life.
- Knowledge can easily change over time but wisdom is timeless. One learns different things daily, therefore their knowledge changes very fast. Today, one might know about the meaning of a house and in the next week, they may already know how to build a house. Wisdom is, on the other hand, very timeless. One cannot be wise one day and lose their wisdom the next day. Once a person is wise, there is a huge chance that they will be wise for the rest of their lives. This, of course, needs to be accompanied by constant learning and acquiring knowledge.
- One uses their knowledge in answering the common question but one uses their wisdom in judging and making wise decisions. Knowledge can be used in many different settings, like in answering an exam, one has to have knowledge about the subject. Knowledge is also used in answering common questions and in sharing ideas with other people. Wisdom is used when there are already different choices or moral aspects that come into consideration, like when choosing between 2 options that would result to different outcomes, or when judging whether a certain action is right or wrong.
- Almost everyone can be knowledgeable but not everyone can be wise. Knowledge can be acquired by everyone by gaining information. But not everyone who is knowledgeable can be wise. If they do not put their knowledge into good use and not apply it in their daily lives, they cannot be considered wise.
While it is true that people often confuse the difference between knowledge and wisdom, one should always know that these two terms differ significantly.
When one learns about different topics and gains information, these stored learnings are called knowledge. And when one uses their knowledge in making decisions and judgment correctly, it then becomes their wisdom.
It is said that wise people are the ones who can survive the best because they put their knowledge into good use. They learn about different things and then use them to they can survive better.
It is always important to remember that the process of learning results to knowledge and the application of knowledge into one’s everyday life becomes wisdom. Wisdom is on a higher level but always remember that wisdom always relies on knowledge.
One can never be wise if they are not knowledgeable. Therefore, it can be said that knowledge should always come first before wisdom.
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