Understanding Continuum


Sipping from the Bowl of Wisdom
Sipping from the Bowl of Wisdom


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Wisdom is the principal thing; therefore get wisdom; and with all thy getting get understanding. - Proverbs 4:7

Wisdom is the ultimate level of understanding. We achieve this level when we see enough patterns and meta-patterns in our knowledge base that we are able to synthesize and then use them in novel ways (Wurman, 2001). Patterns can be classified as (Aldo de Moor, 2006):

Once we have gathered enough patterns on a task or subject and link them together, we are then able to make inferences for interpreting, assessing, and predicting new uses for the patterns.

We can be knowledgeable with other men's knowledge, but we cannot be wise with other men's wisdom. — Michel de Montaigne

As noted by Montaigne, wisdom is not easily passed from one person to another as it must be worked for by building enough patterns as described above; however, recognizing and valuing the wisdom in others will help us to define a framework for achieving it.

Data, Information, Knowledge, Wisdom

One method of helping to identify all the patterns linked to a particular task or subject is to use more of a whole-brain-thinking method.

When information is brushed against information...the results are startling and effective. The perennial quest for involvement, fill-in, takes many forms. - Marshall McLuhan in The Medium is the Massage: An Inventory of Effects (1967).

Looking Backwards in Time

And the reason information can be startling, is that it often allows one to see forward. “The past went that-a-way. When faced with a totally new situation, we tend to always to attach ourselves to the objects, to the flavor of the most recent past. We look at the present through a rear-view mirror. We march backwards into the future“ wrote Marshall McLuhan.

Putting together the puzzles of patterns allows us to take our eyes off the rear-view mirror by brushing new information with our present knowledge base—which allows us to predict.

Next Step

data information knowledge wisdom reflecting interacting doing absorbing context and parts context and connections context and whole context and join researching Context Understanding

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The Continuum of Understanding


Aldo de Moor. (2006). Towards more Effective Collaboration Workspaces: From Collaboration
Technologies to Patterns
. Referenced from Pattberg, J., Fluegge, M. Towards an ontology of collaboration patterns. Retrieve May 6, 2010 from http://subs.emis.de/LNI/Proceedings/Proceedings120/gi-proc-120-007.pdf

Wurman, S. (2001). Information Anxiety 2. Indianapolis: Que.