Knowing vs Understanding

Alex (@hollowinfinity) 9 years, 10 months ago

"Any fool can know-the point is to understand"
What does it mean to know something? Is it just information that can easily be recalled? What is understanding exactly? Using information within any context?
What is the difference between the two.

Personally, I feel like no one knows anything, but a few understand a few things.

March 14, 2012 at 7:44 pm
vishnu (1,235) (@vizznou) 9 years, 10 months ago ago

we will never get what any one of us are saying, especially on a topic like this. i’ll just have to agree with everyone who has/ ever will post here.

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daveb (119) (@daveb) 9 years, 10 months ago ago

All I know is that the more I think about them, the more I realize I don’t understand either one of those words.

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Sea Monkey (2) (@seamonkey) 9 years, 10 months ago ago

I like Paul’s explanation, i just thought I might simplify a bit and give an example

Knowing – you already have a piece of information in your brain (or even in your instincts/dna) .

Understanding – your ability to comprehend information and what you know or have been told – verbally or with your senses. to see how it all fits together and why.

Understanding without knowing – Do I know the answer to 27 x 51? NO, but I understand how we get 1,377 from multiplying 27 by 51? YES.

Knowing without understanding – A baby kangaroo knows instinctively to make it’s way up to it’s mums nipples to drink milk. It has no idea what it is doing or why, but it just knows to do it.

Knowing and Understanding. – I know how to cut paper with scissors and I understand the mechanics behind it.

I know these are very basic examples, things get way more complicated and sometimes it will be very hard to draw the line between the two.

in the original post “Personally, I feel like no one knows anything, but a few understand a few things.”

I feel the average person knows more than they understand, I used to just go with what I was told until I started asking why and how.

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1.61803399 (247) (@drunkmonkmeth) 9 years, 10 months ago ago

we know things people tell us, but we understand the things we figure out first hand.

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Sean D Stevens (155) (@thelaughingfool) 9 years, 10 months ago ago

When I sit down and think about it, it seems to be worse to understand than to know. To know is to think you are right, but to understand is just to think you know that you think you’re right. Since neither side is absolute, it seems to me that a shorter path is better. This is because I personally think that in the process of moral and ethical decisions, the quicker you come to a conclusion, the better your conclusion is. After all, you can logically justify anything if you think about it long enough. Though I realize these are unpopular ideas.

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Nois (7) (@nois) 9 years, 10 months ago ago

I think we know quite a lot, consciously and subconsciously. But we don’t understand most of it.

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Nois (7) (@nois) 9 years, 10 months ago ago

Also, Understanding is a higher order thinking skill iirc;)

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Mike Wuest (510) (@mikeyw829) 9 years, 10 months ago ago

Every belief is subjective. Religions are all subjective. Every religions thinks that have it figured out. Just like every person who believes something about a topic thinks they have it figured out. One thinks theres a god; one thinks he’s vengeful; one thinks he’s forgiving; one thinks there is no god, but there is ‘consciousness’; Then all the FOLLOWERS of these religions believe in them because some prophet told them its true. And then atheists come along and say you’re crazy because they’ve never experienced god. But they are just as crazy because how can you dismiss something just because you haven’t experienced it. Everyone is ignorant, including myself. Some are just more ignorant than others. And it tends to be the more ignorant ones that think they have it all figured out. There has been no person in the history of existence that didn’t think what they believe is 100% true. Otherwise wars wouldn’t be fought and there’d be no arguing on this website. Beliefs only pollute your mind. Positive beliefs, negative beliefs, any beliefs. Even the belief that beliefs pollute your mind pollutes your mind. It closes you off from options. I’ve realized that I’ve been saying this in almost every post I’ve written over the past couple of weeks. And I’ll acutally rephrase that. Beliefs pollute MY mind. I could care less what others think or believe. Maybe you think beliefs are necessary. Then again, that’s just another belief

I’ll never understand how people can think they have anything figured out at all. Even simple things like this. We can discuss all these topics as much as we want, but what does it do for you? What does ‘knowing’ something do for you. Ok so Buddhism tells you there is a consciousness that pervades everything… Scientists tell you that 26 dimensions exist… Eckhart tolle tells you that the ego is an illusion… How does knowing any of that make you better off? It might make you feel safe, but it’s detrimental to growth. The only way to truly understand any of that is to experience it. I will never again take nothing that is told to me as the truth. the only things that are true to me are my experiences. Every single thing is subjective. Meditate, don’t meditate. Take shrooms, don’t take shrooms. Jerk off every day, don’t jerk off for a month. Chakras exists, chakras don’t exist. There is God, god doesn’t exist. Philosophy is the way to figure everything out, experience is the way to figure everything out. Be a hippie, don’t be a hippe. Science will solve everything, science will ruin everything. Whose to say any of these ways are the right way to do something? Maybe in your experience only it is.

It makes me realize there really is no point arguing anything. Of course YOU think you are right. Of course I think I am right. And who’s to say either one of us is right. You might think all that I’m saying is wrong here. I really don’t care. The point is it makes so much sense to me. Personally, theres nothing wrong with knowledge. but I’m never taking anything I hear as belief ever again. On the other hand, I won’t disbelieve it either.

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Lauren (109) (@23lowbrows) 9 years, 10 months ago ago

I feel that to have knowledge you must have action…I can know that i have infinite potential but am I demonstrating it, am I moving in that direction in every action that i take? Am I experiencing this knowledge by putting forth any action?

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Lauren (109) (@23lowbrows) 9 years, 10 months ago ago

@Mike i also agree with you!! So to me, that is my own experience of what i believe knowledge is and is a part of

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Nikola Atanasovski (12) (@nikola) 9 years, 10 months ago ago

I think we know nothing, just uphold a system of beliefs based on prior experience and ancestral knowledge. To know anything, we would need to rule out everything that isn’t knowing that something, and since we haven’t attained all the knowledge that there is, has been, or will be about the universe, we can only operate on a system of “temporary” beliefs

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Eric (1,819)M (@blankey) 9 years, 10 months ago ago

@Alex, I agree 100%. I’ve been thinking about this a lot today. I was thinking about scientists and how they just observe things and write down data, test their hypothesis, etc. And yet, it seems like our viewing, our observing, can change from person to person. Not only that, but we do not even know what makes up our universe. We have put some names behind it and came up with a few radical theories (string theory), but we really do not know shit. To observe something and make claims off of it when we do not even know TRULY what exactly we are observing, or what consciousness is…it just does not make complete sense to me.

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Mike Wuest (510) (@mikeyw829) 9 years, 10 months ago ago

I’m going to go out on a limb and say that the only way you can truly understand something is to create the idea/thought/concept purely from your own self without using any outside knowledge of that topic. Understanding is creating to me

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Mike Wuest (510) (@mikeyw829) 9 years, 10 months ago ago

and also perhaps my first statement is severely exaggerated. I was venting at the time because this has been bothering me for weeks

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Alex (551) (@hollowinfinity) 9 years, 10 months ago ago

@Mike, Does this extend to creating the the whole Universe as well? The person that made..the internet for example (if it were one guy) Does he truly not understand the internet because he did not also create the computer, or fully understand how each part of the computer works? Interesting for me to think of it that way.

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Mike Wuest (510) (@mikeyw829) 9 years, 10 months ago ago

Alex I really don’t know if I could answer that question. I think he’d have to understand the internet because how would he have created it otherwise? He might not understand it in context of how the computer interprets the information etc, but he understands the internet itself.

The easiest way I think about it is in terms of a ‘god’ or creator. Belief in a creator is just that, a belief. It comes from nothing else besides information that’s been told to you or that you’ve taken in from an outside source. Maybe it took you (the hypothetical you, not the actual you) ten years to figure out your belief in god. Or a lifetime, it doesn’t matter. It could be because of your belief in a certain religion, and that religion says that a god exists. Or it could come from your research of the universe and its vastness, so you think there is a god because of how vast the universe is. But this is all just using your mind to create a concept of god, a belief or knowing.

To me, understanding is different. It involves emotion and comes from outside of your mind, and manifests itself in the world as a new thought, idea, concept, musical piece, scientific discovery, or even understanding of god. It is your own original idea or belief that is unaffected and undetermined by prior knowledge. It’s a lot deeper than knowledge. A feeling combined with something unexplainable that would be impossible to describe to someone else. For instance, someone couldn’t describe to you the thoughts they had in their head to create a new song so you could replicate those exact thoughts and recreate (not copy) that song. You might be able to replicate the song, but you could never recreate it. You know the song, but don’t understand it. Same thing with god.. a lot of people say they know god, but don’t understand it at all.

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Ellie (1,363)M (@tangledupinplaid21) 9 years, 10 months ago ago

Mike, I’ve gone through more than one phase of feeling exactly the way you do(or did when you posted that long comment)… and I think the phases are kinda starting to even out and bring me to the “conclusion”(are actually conclusions ever really reached?) that though nearly everything seems to be circumstantial, if we all took that position all the time, nothing would ever be able to get accomplished. There are certain things you just have to decide to believe or have faith in to get things done. And here’s the thing, just because you decide something is true for you one day, does not mean there’s some external force tying you forever to that idea! Emerson is a badass and says “Consistency is the hobgoblin of foolish minds”, and “the only truly consistent are the dead”. It’s okay to have conviction about something you feel or know to be true only to change your mind soon after… Life is all about experimenting, trying, failing, seeing what works and what doesn’t. It may not be perfect or always comfortable and you may get a lot of shit from people, but they don’t know anything either! And it’s sure as hell better than staying stuck in a stagnant “no one knows anything so what’s the point?” position.

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Mike Wuest (510) (@mikeyw829) 9 years, 10 months ago ago

It’s hard for me to describe. But you know those things that make so much sense to you, but you can’t explain them to other people. And no matter how hard you try to explain no one will ever get it as much as you do, unless they came to that same conclusion on their own? Something literally beyond words. I think that is understanding. I always think of Einstein when I think about this topic.

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Mike Wuest (510) (@mikeyw829) 9 years, 10 months ago ago

@ Ellie. Yes thats a great explanation of how I feel. But wouldn’t you agree that beliefs are stagnation? It’s one thing to hold something as probable rather than an absolute truth. Saying something is probable is not a belief. A belief to me is something that when it is questioned, you feel the need to defend and criticize others, even if it’s just in your head, for not having that belief (or having a belief that you don’t have). It is what causes a person to judge others or feel a specific way about themselves.

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Ellie (1,363)M (@tangledupinplaid21) 9 years, 10 months ago ago

Isn’t that just, by your definition, a belief about beliefs, then? What if you decide that YOUR beliefs will be open to change and interpretation? That’s how I do it. :)

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Brandon (13) (@vitiate) 9 years, 10 months ago ago

The best way to explain it, is to use Bloom’s Taxonomy. Truly understanding goes like this, with the bottom being the final step.
——Knowledge: Define, duplicate, memorize, recall, etc.
—–Comprehension: Classify, describe, discuss, etc.
—-Application: Demonstrate, dramatize, illustrate, etc.
—Analysis: Compare & Contrast, question deeply, experiment
–Evaluation: Argue, defend, judge, etc.
-Creativity: Construct, create, assemble, formulate, etc.

In simpler terms,
Knowledge, you know about it.
Comprehension, you are beginning to understand it.
Application, you can apply it to other things.
Analysis, you study it further to learn what it can/can’t do, what you do/don’t know.
Evaluation, you formed opinions, that you can defend with concrete examples. Used to be considered the true ‘understanding’ we are looking for.
Creativity, self explanatory I believe. The information is now yours at a deep level; so much so that you can become creative with it.

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stonedragon (143) (@stonedragon21) 9 years, 10 months ago ago

it is strange, but during my meditation this morning this idea of knowing came in my head, and it gave me a queezy feeling. like we can not know anything.

that is all i know about this subject. but you guys are all really knowing what it all means. that is amazing to me. so smart you all are!

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Mike Wuest (510) (@mikeyw829) 9 years, 10 months ago ago

Ellie. I guess so. But that’s where knowing (beliefs) vs. understanding comes in. What I am trying to describe is not a belief to me. Take the statement “I don’t have any beliefs” which a lot of masters have said over the years. You could say, well that in itself is a belief, but what the person is trying to describe is beyond worded description. Meaning that they don’t even have the belief that they don’t have beliefs. This is not me, I obviously do have a lot of beliefs (which cause anxiety, feelings of inferiority, etc) which I am trying to get rid of. If your beliefs are open to change, then I wouldn’t personally consider that a belief (but now I’m arguing semantics over the definition of a word). Bottom line, I think I agree with you.

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Mike Wuest (510) (@mikeyw829) 9 years, 10 months ago ago

@ tine. Could you apply your theory to a concept like god?

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Mike Wuest (510) (@mikeyw829) 9 years, 10 months ago ago

For me it doesn’t take application to understand what love is. I don’t have to go and help people and treat people as I would be treated for a lifetime to know what love is. I understand love, and then do those things as a byproduct. application for me happens after you understand. Einstein didn’t apply the theory of relativity before he understood it.

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