Knowledge & Wisdom


Charge, pulse, properties, patterns, metapatterns.

Knowledge is Power Masculine

Wisdom is Grace Feminine see The Goddess Sofia





Knowledge is simply what we can articulate. For the Thinker the pertinent question is what does knowledge mean to me and can I tap into my knowledge to enrich my daily life.

When does Knowledge Begin?

In the “Meno”, Socrates begins to question a young slave about his knowledge of geometry. The slave quickly asserts his answer, but it was not what Socrates was looking for. Armed with more questions, he continues the dialogue until the slave unravels the truth. The slave’s knowledge was tacit and innate, ready to be declared; in expressing his knowledge he showed he was a Thinker.

Few psychologists will dispute that at least some of our knowledge is present at birth. In fact, several of today’s theories resemble the Meno, in that much of our knowledge is inherited. For instance, Noam Chomsky and Jerry Fodor two leading cognitivists, support the idea that we are born with a natural language. Natural language is assumed to be deeper than our native language. This would account for the incredible ease with which children acquire language competence, even if they live in an impoverished environment. In other words, children become able to learn and speak about things that they have never experienced.

When does Knowledge End?

Clearly we all have a life cycle; but it would be presumptuous to think our knowledge ends when we do. Our children not only inherit but also learn knowledge from us. It is through interacting (communicating) with objects of our environment that we discover new things. Communication involves creating, storing, and retrieving. Thus, children keep our knowledge alive.

We can see how learning involves communication; but what is the relation of communication to knowledge. Ayn Rand, a popular modern philosopher said “The building block of man’s knowledge is the concept of something that exists, be it a thing, an action, or an attribute.” If a conceptual object is abstract and imaginary, then abstracting from physical reality must create concepts. Therefore, by communicating with physical objects we create conceptual knowledge.

From such thinkers as Jean Piaget and Lev Vygotsky, we can again turn our argument towards language acquisition. For children, language is the fruit of knowledge. Vygotsky observed that children first discover their environment by manipulating physical objects. Next, they discover that every object has a name, and begin naming everything in sight. Finally, they internalize words into concepts, empowering them to think in words, without the objects being physically present.

Although these scholars never met to dispute their disagreements, they knew of each other’s work, and generally agreed on the qualitative levels of development, proposed by Piaget. The point of difference between them is a good place to end this knowledge cycle. Vygotsky placed emphasis on socially learned knowledge (from the environment), whereas Piaget’s emphasized biological principles (genetic inheritance).

Knowledge Classes

We have already eluded to the fact that knowledge is what you can articulate. While this is affirming, in its own right, questions of knowledge still perplex many great thinkers. Epistemology, meaning, the study of knowledge, is the branch of philosophy concerned with the nature, origins, and structure of knowledge. In examining each of these perspectives, we can learn and work with the Knowledge Paradigm.

Traditional epistemology distinguishes between knowing how and knowing what. Placing a phone call illustrates an everyday example of both. We know that the telephone number is (xxx) xxx – xxxx, and how to dial the phone. In psychology these general properties of knowledge are described as declarative and procedural. Declarative knowledge is a static description, or snapshot of our world, represented in words, images, sounds, aromas and feelings. Procedural knowledge is what we execute when performing a task.

You may ask how it is possible for us to contain the necessary declarative and procedural knowledge to use our abilities. In dialling a phone, do we have procedures that tell us to reach in our pockets, find a quarter, remove the quarter from our pockets, identify the coin slot, align the quarter to the slot, drop in the coin, wait for the dial tone and so on. This would be distracting even before talking on the phone. To answer the question, we require another type of knowledge: tacit knowledge. It is what we know, but do not need to express. Most of what we know is tacit. From tacit knowledge we know how to dial the phone. We constantly build from previous experience and then we need only pay attention to salient information, such as where to find the nearest phone. Once we have mastered the telephone, can we learn to use an adding machine even if its number keypad is in reverse order to the telephone keypad.

Declarative Knowledge

  • Who, What, Where, and When

Declarative knowledge relates to the physical and strategic aspect of knowledge. It requires knowing who, what, where, and when. It is the place where the Thinker begins knowledge acquisition. It is simply knowledge that the Thinker verbalizes easily in declarative statements, descriptions or representations consisting of factual statements about objects and their properties.

Procedural Knowledge

  •  How To

Procedural knowledge is the functional aspect of knowledge. It results from the intellectual skill of knowing how to do something. It has both psychomotor and cognitive components. For example, procedural knowledge includes the psychomotor tasks of diagnosis, breakdown, and repair of a computer system. Cognitive tasks include speaking a language fluently, a skill that goes beyond adherence to a single set of rules. Procedural knowledge is sometimes difficult to acquire when it has become second nature to the teacher. Tasks may be so well known to experts that they discover they cannot express the how’s and the why’s. Procedural knowledge is prescriptive knowledge. It employs declarative knowledge for an action. A course of action and the associated ‘procedures are the outputs of most experts. Procedural outputs include step by step sequences and “how to” types of instructions. Procedural knowledge can also be represented through algorithms. Algorithms are often presented as flow charts in books, technical manuals, and job aids. Having a procedure to do a task does not necessarily mean one has the skill to perform it. Instructions and charts for assembling furniture or equipment do not necessarily ensure rapid or accurate completion of the task.

Heuristic Knowledge

  • Why

Heuristic knowledge is an internal process. Unlike tacit knowledge heuristic knowledge is conscious and calculated. Using both declarative and procedural knowledge to solve a problem the thinker exercises them to answer the question why. It is unique to the individual. Others have encountered similar situations or have experienced widely different heuristic knowledge solutions. Heuristic knowledge is often found in the form of presentations at conferences for specialists. Heuristic knowledge consists of personally discovered rules. These rules have evolved from strategies that provided assistance and orientation when solving problems. The formation is based on knowledge about a particular obstacle to be overcome. There are many forms of problem solving using these personal rules, but the most common is the if then rule. IF THEN rules work when explicit conditions have been met.


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