I consider knowledge, understanding, and wisdom to be a set of three steps leading onward and upward.
First, you have knowledge, the accumulation of facts and figures, if you will. It answers the who, what, when, and where questions.
Second, you have understanding wherein you move past the basics into the intermediate and begin to fit those facts and figures together to answer the how and why questions.
Third, you have wisdom wherein you get into the advanced and answer deeper how and why questions. You put what you know into action. You apply it to solve problems, to live a better life. You pass the routine and get into the creative.
I see this three-step process at work elsewhere. Granted these are somewhat arbitrary assignments of meaning and not all original, but it helps me understand and it helps me see accomplishment as possible.
Take self-discipline, self-control, and self-mastery. In the first, you gain control over your actions, doing those things you need to do whether you feel like it or not, and not doing those things that would be wrong, at least at the moment (saving play until the work is done). Moving on to self-control, you bridle your words, as well as the deeds of self-discipline. Then in self-mastery, you control your thoughts and get past the patient building of habit into the producing and creating of your life.
Thoughts, words, and deeds also make a three-step process. Thoughts lead to words lead to deeds. They work from the inside out and the self-discipline trio untangles them from the outside in.
Faith, hope, and charity can also be viewed in a similar way. The reason I have been pondering these "threes" is to understand them better and to use them better. Dividing them up helps to see possibilities and to set goals, leading to improvement and accomplishment.
Labels: knowledge, understanding, wisdom