Wisdom of the Force

by Magdelene

(The difference between Knowledge and Wisdom)

 “Those analysis droids you’ve got over there only focus on symbols, you know. I should think you Jedi have more respect for the difference between knowledge and wisdom.”

 (—Dex to Obi-Wan in “Attack of the Clones”)

This line in the movie has brought up a lot of discussion as they really don’t give the answer away. So it kind of begs the question “What is the difference between knowledge and wisdom?” Also “Why should this difference be so important to the Jedi?”

 The Jedi code mentions knowledge, but have you noticed it doesn’t use the word wisdom? Wisdom comes from understanding. Which means wisdom originates in knowledge. So the path to wisdom is knowledge and thus the code is giving us the first step, but that isn’t where we are supposed to stop. Wisdom is knowledge practiced and understood.

 So what Dex is saying about the droid is that it only knows what it has the capability of looking up in the library files. It knows what it’s program tells it to do in order to find something. But it can’t figure out what to do if it doesn’t have the information it requires. It doesn’t know how to think through trying to learn something beyond the scope of that program. It doesn’t know how to learn. It doesn’t know how to seek understanding. It doesn’t know how to use critical thinking and come up with the idea that what information it does have could be incorrect. It can’t come up with the idea to ask a friend as Obi-Wan can.

 Also Dex has the correct information about the dart because he has wisdom as well as knowledge. He knows what he knows about the dart by experience in having been to several places and having dealt with many different kinds of tools, etc. So he knows from experience what “gives it away”.

 The difference between knowledge and wisdom is sort of like this: I have read books on how cars operate. I can understand in theory what is supposed to happen in certain situations with a car. But I lack experiential wisdom. A mechanic who has been working on cars as a profession is going to know things about cars you probably can’t find in books. They know from doing and having learned over time. Thus wisdom.

 You could also think of it like riding a horse. You could read about that too, or be told about how to ride a horse. But it takes actually having ridden horses for a while to understand how to do it. You have to practice it. People who race horses professionally become so adept at it that they become one with the horse as they run the race.

 That’s how the Force should become to the Jedi. At first the Jedi learns the concept of the Force. Then the Jedi gets a better idea of what that is, and how the Jedi is related to it. The Jedi begins to use the Force, clumsily at first, but continues to perfect it. At some point the Jedi will be one with the Force. So knowledge of the Force grows into wisdom of the Force.

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