Friday, January 04, 2008


Perhaps it is my low SAT scores. Perhaps it is my very average I.Q. Perhaps it is my work with Talented and Gifted then Special Education children. Whatever it is, I've always been fascinated with the difference between being "smart" and being "wise." Here are some of my favorite quotes I've gathered on the subject. Feel free to add your own!

"Knowledge is merely brilliance in the organization of ideas. It is not
true wisdom. The truly wise go beyond knowledge." - Confucius

“He who learns but does not think, is lost! He who thinks but does not learn is in great danger.” - Confucius

"A donkey with a load of holy books is still a donkey." - Sufi Saying

"Knowledge is knowing that a tomato is a fruit. Wisdom is not putting it in a fruit salad." - Ruba

"Seek wisdom, not knowledge. Knowledge is of the past, Wisdom is of the future." - A proverb of the Lumbee tribe.

Dictionary statements for:

Intelligence: The capacity to acquire and apply knowledge, especially toward a purposeful goal.

Scientist: A person having expert knowledge of one or more sciences, especially a natural or physical science.

Science: knowledge or a system of knowledge covering general truths or the operation of general laws especially as obtained and tested through the scientific method and concerned with the physical world and its phenomena.

Dictionary statements for:

Wisdom: The ability to discern or judge what is true, right, or lasting; insight.

Philosopher: A student of or specialist in philosophy.

Philosophy: Love and pursuit of wisdom by intellectual means and moral self-discipline.

And my favorite: "Knowledge stays in the mind. Wisdom is knowledge that has moved through the heart." - Susan Johnson


Michelle O'Neil said...

My favorite is the donkey. Made me laugh. I can always count on your for that!


Kapuananiokalaniakea said...

You are right and wise for understanding the vast chasm between knowledge and wisdom -- would that those who wish to lead would have the same understanding.

Kapuananiokalaniakea said...

"We can be knowledgable with other men's knowledge, but we cannot be wise with other men's wisdom." Michael de Montaigne


"They are best off who know that they do not know. They are worst off who claim to know but do not." Laozi


"Whenever a theory appears to you as the only possible one, thake this as a sign that you have neither understood the theory nor the problem which it was intended to solve." Karl Popper


kario said...

"Common sense is wisdom and wisdom is different from knowledge. You are wise when you no longer act against yourself. You are wise when you are in harmony with yourself, with your own kind, with all of creation." Don Miguel Ruiz


Terry Whitaker said...

Aaaaahhhh, Grasshopper...

La La said...

This gives me so much hope, since I don't know very much at all. Can't remember things I've learned, details, facts, etc. However, I believe a lot has passed through my heart. I feel it deep inside me.

loving you. You are a wise woman!

Was is Paulo Freire who said that education is knowing that you don't know and then finding out, and lack of education is not knowing that you don't know. I paraphrased that.

shauna said...

Love, love, love this post. I too have been fascinated with the difference. My grandmother first demonstrated true wisdom to me, although she was smart too. But I always try to remind myself that wisdom is key. Thanks for the reminder!

Jenny said...

I have always been fascinated with the difference too. I like the tomato quote.

K-La said...

"Knowledge speaks, wisdom listens."

Anonymous said...

This is an amazing post Carrie. I do believe that knowledge is from the head and wisdom is from the heart. My Grandmother only had an 8th grade education, but was the wisest person I ever met. Kindness, compassion, life circumstances, listening etc. lead to a very special wisdom that no books, lectures, colleges can give.

Go Mama said...

I think the tomato analogy sums it up simply and brilliantly.

Anonymous said...

I don't know much but then my kids figured out that it was genetically impossible to be on the honor roll. Now I wonder, were they at least a little bit smart to figure this out or just wise asses?

Nancy said...

This is beautiful, wise Carrie!
I sometimes see more wisdom within the simplest people, than those with heads full of knowledge.

Deb said...

Great food for thought. The donkey and tomato quotes are my favorite. Who said wisdom can't make you laugh?!

Anonymous said...

Wisdom is knowing what to overlook