Knowledge and Knowing

Knowledge and Knowing

“Life is 10 percent what happens to me and 90 percent of how I react to it.” 

Charles Swindoll

Most of us; with the exception of the kids who were lucky or unlucky enough to be home schooled, have formerly engaged in systemic educational systems and acquired what we regard as ‘knowledge.

Knowledge encompasses the transmission of facts or communicated information which we in turn comprehend and/or absorb and in so doing, we subsequently possess the desired content.

As a result of this process, we can therefore say we have competently or adequately ‘learnt it’ or that we ‘know it’.

We have absorbed the information communicated in whatever way it was translated across to us and have therefore acquired the knowledge.

This kind of accumulation of knowledge is very much an intellectual process. We get exposed to the information, we store it in our brain vault, and we accept it as a form of truth.

Intellectually processing systemic knowledge has been traditionally  absorbed through book learning or textual understanding. Certain authors are regarded as credible or experts or ‘knowledgeable’ on certain subject matters

As human-beings, we also acquire more readily accessible knowledge through what we see and hear; our observations and our consequent reflections in relationship to the data.

Systemic hierarchies, such as those found within the spaces of academic echelons, turn upon experts when they are judging content or teaching a subject in an attempt to imbue credibility to whatever knowledge they are seeking to transmit.

It should come as no surprise to anyone that what continues to be taught or relied upon is regurgitated information.

If the knowledge is not regurgitated back in one’s ‘own words’ the learning is said to be incomplete or deficient in some way.

Current trends in teaching has seen academics challenging students on how well they absorb such doctrinal approaches to learning and even calling this process critical analysis when it is really nothing more than agreeing with the textual script because to not agree with an author would involve finding another author who revolted by departing from the academic establishment. Sometimes criticisms are easily located, but not always. Being a nerdy rebel loses its appeal once the student enters the labyrinth in search of a radical and published academic. There is no time for that kind of cute research when one has to reproduce established drivel on time.

Knowledge is something that can be stranger than what we are exposed to because it cannot always be communicated in words.

“We don’t know a thing until we know it.”


Knowing something is different altogether because it originates organically from within ourselves.

We can arrive to our own conclusions once we experience something for ourselves. We can call it many things; a type of science, a claim, a statement of observable fact, a theory, a new religion even.

Knowing is intangible, personal, intuitive and divinely spiritual. We instinctively can follow or trust this wisdom we have even if we do not have the words or know the best way as to how to communicate this form of awareness to others.

It can be harder to rationalise, prove or ‘test’ this kind of awareness but it is nevertheless very powerful. We can call it a hunch or an inkling, a vibe or a feeling.

Sometimes we can say our feelings or our intuition was wrong after an irrefutable fact materialises but deep down were we really even truly connecting with this form of awareness or consciousness within ourselves or with others to begin with?

Sometimes we were right and did connect with this consciousness and a physical manifestation to test or prove our knowing will eventuate later.

Many indigenous cultures around the world have access to this type of knowledge; oftentimes described as a generational ancestral gift which is passed across through bloodlines. Some tribes attribute this type of knowledge or knowing to other life forms such as animals, the elements, or nature.

This type of knowing or knowledge isn’t taught in conventional learning spaces but perhaps it should be if only to enrich our understanding of other ways of knowing through systemic assimilation.

In concluding this discussion, it may appear to be peculiar for some of us to regurgitate traditional ideas when those established conventions of knowledge don’t seem to reflect the reality of what we know or regard to be a different and sacred truth within ourselves.

Natasha Stone