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.”
The idea that “I’ll believe what I want to believe” and “you believe what you want to believe” can sometimes lead to the avoidance of the truth. You should seek to understand the viewpoints of others. Getting to know someone better provides you the opportunity to build upon the things you mutually share or agree, instead of putting all your energy into disagreeing.
Whenever you see people arguing as if it were intellectual combat, the nature of the argument can be grossly misunderstood or overshadowed by the person with the loudest or most convincing delivery. Instead of taking offense to someone agreeing or disagreeing with you, be willing to keep an open mind if the argument has good merit.