Knowledge vs Understanding

What’s the difference between knowledge and understanding? And how much of knowledge is only learned, as opposed to being understood?

Knowledge gained from past accumulation of facts, opinions, education, experiences, and study is stored in our minds for our personal use.Only rarely, and for short moments, are we fully aware of what’s happening in the present without resorting to knowledge from the past with which we are familiar.

Understanding happens when the knowledge learned is applied directly in the moment. This is the distinction between knowledge different than understanding.

Knowledge applied to useful purpose is what makes the difference.

In the same way, we may know many pieces of wisdom, but much of it, we simply store as data, learnt but not as understood as as to how to use it, as we seldom observe it or apply it in a mindful manner. But one who has acquired knowledge and also who understands why and how to apply it is considered a specialist in his or her field as in this definition.


A specialist is one who not only knows how something works, but who understands why. And who, therefore, is fully capable of applying that knowledge in the real world for a practical purpose. Therein lies the difference between knowledge and understanding, which is: Applied Knowledge.

The fascinating part of the mind is that it can see the same thing and still learn something new. Just like when you look at a photograph or a painting many times, eventually more and more of it becomes apparent to you. You see more subtle effects of light and shadow, the brush-strokes and paint textures and colours and more subtle parts of the background which can give new meaning and interest.

With this in mind, you can explore the philosophy or teaching, or more generally life and the mind itself, to be able to comprehend it and find deeper applications and benefits.

Applied knowledge should be the goal of a specialist in any field.

Daniel Jacobs
© 2016, all rights reserved


About Daniel Jacobs

This is my personal blog site for writings about life and living, cognitions and bognitions, insights and outsights, rants and raves, prose and politics, economics, infonomics and exonomics, inter and outerpersonal relationships, artists, people and anything else that interests me.
This entry was posted in Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s