Knowledge vs. Experience

The internet provides us with vasts amounts of information, but does it help us truly understand? Information overload doesn’t result in more wisdom. If anything, the opposite occurs – information without the proper context and interpretation only muddles our understanding.

There’s a difference between knowledge and experience. Obtaining knowledge requires some sensory input: reading, watching, listening, and touching. In contrast, experience comes with time, exposure, and practice.

For example, we may recognize a written language just by looking at the characters, but we will not understand it unless we take time to study it and put it to use.

We may also know something intellectually, but our intuitive thoughts, feelings, and emotions can cloud our understanding and shortchange our experience.

Chinese philosopher Confucius sums it up well: “I hear, and I forget. I see, and I remember. I do, and I understand.”

Illustration: Hugh MacLeod / Gapingvoid

Human Life

Human behavior falls into patterns. Still, no one particular person can produce enough knowledge or insight to explain the totality of the human experience. It’s easy to value material possessions over human life, but life is your greatest gift.

All human accomplishments will one day disappear, so it’s better to live your life wisely. Failing to do so can cause you to become too proud or self-sufficient as it relates to your successes and greatly disappointed with your perceived failure(s).