Sunday, February 22, 2009
Knowing & Understanding
The difference being knowing and understanding is like the difference between lighting and lightning. The acid test as to whether one has mastered a subject matter is pedagogical and reliant upon the level of success in teaching the topic to other people. Knowing involves the actual process of taking in the information and storing the information for later use. Understanding involves taking what is already stored, forming relations from the different concepts, and in the process forming additional questions and criticisms. However, this is a purely insular experience and personal experience. The individual at this point does not truly understand the subject-matter. In order to truly understand an idea it must first be communicated to different people with varying degrees of intelligence. It is only until then that a person can claim to have an "understanding" of the subject-matter, and this is valid only if the idea is being communicated in one form or another.