Wisdom and Understanding

Our lives are currently dominated by what might be described as lower case knowledge. We live in the information age. Data and information and quantity are the things we believe are important. T.S. Eliot famously asked, “Where is the wisdom we have lost in knowledge? Where is the knowledge we have lost in information?” There are levels of knowledge that can roughly be divided into data, information, understanding, knowledge, wisdom.

What is often overlooked and undervalued in the information age is what might be described as “higher case” knowledge, such as understanding and wisdom and those qualitative assessments of the condition of human life that would frequently tell us that things are not as they might seem. Are we happier, more fulfilled, more cohesive as a society? Do we value people’s contribution, cherish craftsmanship and take delight in culture? The answer to these questions is frequently, no. Whilst we have more things and more data and information at our finger tips than ever before, things like wisdom, happiness and understanding appear to be more remote and less cherished than once they were.

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