Do you know the difference between knowledge, wisdom and insight?

To some people, the words knowledge, wisdom, and insight are synonyms, not fully understanding the significance of each. These words are not synonyms; however, they do have a close relationship with one another.

One’s knowledge is an accumulation of facts and information that one gains through their education and experiences. It is a tool to be used either wisely or unwisely at the disposal of its owner; the more vast the collection of knowledge, the more powerful the tool. Any experience, recognition of a transpired event, understanding of a consequence, reading of a book, or even just a simple observation is an acquisition of knowledge. We are continuously gaining knowledge whether we intend to or not, but it is how one chooses to utilize and apply this knowledge where the aspect of wisdom comes in.

Wisdom is the understanding of one’s knowledge and the ability to use it in an intelligent way. To be wise is the ability for one to be able to use their collection of knowledge for a particular matter or for a certain situation to aid them in determining the course of action or choice of words with the most desirable consequences. Wisdom is not gained as effortlessly as knowledge; it requires the thought, reflection, and understanding of one’s knowledge or even one’s lack of knowledge. It would be wise to remain reserved during the discussion of a topic of which you are not familiar with rather than act unwisely and speak as though you have a considerable understanding of a matter that you have little or no knowledge of.

Insight is perhaps the deepest form of knowing and understanding. For one to have true insight on a matter or situation demonstrates that they not only have the knowledge and the contemplative wisdom of an affair, but that they also have an intuitive connection and an understanding of the true nature of a trade or topic. True insight can only be developed through the acquisition of knowledge, the deliberation of said knowledge into wisdom, and finally the application of said wisdom to achieve the level of insight allowing the ability to understand underlying truths and pass on valuable knowledge and offer advice to those who seek it.

As an example of the differences, but also the relationship of these three different aspects, we can assume the role of an amateur musician.

Knowledge is knowing how to or having the ability to play an instrument and create music.

Wisdom is realizing that with the ability to play and create music, an artist is then capable of communicating what may be an otherwise unspeakable feeling or message through their music by using their personal creativity and inspiration.

Insight is having achieved mastery and becoming in-tune with this powerful, sacred form of expression. One is then able to aid and advise other’s who are passionate about communicating and expressing themselves through their own music.

Humans are not inherently knowledgeable, wise, or insightful, but from the moment a person is born, their knowledge has begun to develop. Knowledge is the crucial foundation for wisdom; one could not begin to hope to act wisely without the knowledge of the potential consequences of their decisions. Knowledge, even in its most remedial form, is required for the employment of wisdom, as wisdom is necessary for attaining insight. One that can be said to have valuable insight for a given endeavor is someone that has gone through the extensive process of gaining the necessary knowledge, reflecting on it to develop the clarity of wisdom and using their wisdom to achieve success; however, valuable insight and advice on what not to do can also be offered by individuals who were unsuccessful in their strife.

It is important that we expand our wealth of knowledge, devote time to the reflection and the deliberation of what we know in order to bloom our knowledge into wisdom, and apply our wisdom to our path in life to find success and self-fulfillment. Then, perhaps one day we will have some valuable and meaningful insight to offer an individual following a similar path.


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