Knowledge Versus Wisdom

Albert Camus once said, “An intellectual is someone whose mind watches itself.” I love this quote because it explains the difference between knowledge and wisdom.

Knowledge is knowing lots and lots of stuff. Wisdom is understanding how your mind uses that stuff. 

In psychology, this “mind watches itself” is known as meta-cognition. Or, more casually, self-awareness.

Self-awareness is being able to not just feel your emotions, but observe yourself feeling your emotions; to not just have thoughts but to observe your thoughts as though they weren’t yours; to not just have beliefs, but to question those beliefs.

This self-observation—or the mind that watches itself—is at the root of mental and emotional health. It is a skill that we can practice and become better at. Therefore, knowledge is gained and wisdom is practiced. While knowledge is accumulated, wisdom is honed. While knowledge can be lost, wisdom lasts forever.