The division between knowledge, wisdom, and opinion In modern society exists a constant struggle between individuals to develop the keenest intellect. Humans compete on a daily basis for the intellectual power over other humans. In conversations, arguments, tests, academic achievements, recreational quizzes & games, and in the execution of daily tasks, displaying one’s own intellect is vital. But how well do such events measure an individual’s intellect? What defines intellect in the first place? Intellect can be divided into three forms: knowledge, wisdom, and opinion. Though combined they produce a measure of intellect on the whole; scrutinizing each form individually reveals important variations. Knowledge is obtainable information, stored and utilized by the logical focus of the mind.
Knowledge is measured in volume, not necessarily value. Take the popular game show Jeopardy: a man manages to out-do his opponents by successfully accessing a larger volume of information. What the contestant is doing is simply recalling information that he acquired through the course of his studies. He need not use any type of psychological or philosophical insight; merely he needs to be able to maintain a strong memory. Still, we marvel at the man’s intellect, viewing him as a highly intelligent person, simply because he can remember things. Knowledge, therefore, can be acquired by anyone who wishes to work to contain volumes of information.
Wisdom, however, is not as easily obtained as knowledge. Wisdom is the ability of the mind to scrutinize knowledge. Wisdom is what scholars, thinkers, and philosophers possess. When an individual can question and examine aspects of himself and his world, and in turn develop answers, then he is exhibiting wisdom.
A wise man learns from experience; a wiser man learns from others experience”? While I can’t find who coined this saying myself, one word comes to my mind—wisdom. Dictionary. com defines wisdom as: the quality or state of being wise; knowledge of what is true or right coupled with just judgment as to action; sagacity, discernment, or insight. After reading the definition above we can agree wisdom ...
Wisdom is far more intuitive and exclusive than knowledge. Where knowledge is about volume, wisdom is about value. Knowledge is merely what we know, wisdom is knowing why and how we know; more importantly, what we can do with it. Knowledge and wisdom, the measure of intellectual volume and value, work together to form individual concepts: opinions. One’s opinion is formed from the filtering of knowledge through wisdom. Our own perception of a concept is developed when we take what we acquire (knowledge) and filter it with what we already know and feel (wisdom).
Opinion tends to also be what the individual shares with the community. You exhibit your opinion every time you speak, or act, in a myriad of situations. What you order at a restaurant, how you react to a stranger, what magazine you choose to read, what clothes you choose to wear. All of these decisions are based on how your knowledge and wisdom have formed. While there are obvious division between all three aspects of the intellectual being, there are also obvious connections.
Opinion, wisdom, and knowledge are undeniably the result of each other. Intellect is, therefore, the measure of balance between the three.