The Vast Chasm between Knowing and Understanding by G Swaminathan SignUp
Boloji.com
Channels

In Focus

 
Analysis
Cartoons
Education
Environment
Opinion
Photo Essays
 
 

Columns

 
Business
Random Thoughts
 
 

Our Heritage

 
Architecture
Astrology
Ayurveda
Buddhism
Cinema
Culture
Festivals
Hinduism
History
People
Places
Sikhism
Spirituality
 
 

Society & Lifestyle

 
Health
Parenting
Perspective
Recipes
Society
Teens
Women
 
 

Creative Writings

 
Book Reviews
Computing
Humor
Individuality
Literary Shelf
Memoirs
Quotes
Stories
Travelogues
Workshop
 
 
Perspective Share This Page
The Vast Chasm between Knowing and Understanding
by G Swaminathan Bookmark and Share

Many times many of us, especially myself, get into this problem of ‘knowing’ and ‘understanding’. Does this create problems? Yes. Some times directly, some time indirectly; by this I mean, violently and discreetly.

‘Knowing’ and ‘understanding’ may be related concepts, but they are not the same. Each is a distinct mental state involving cognitive grasp: Knowing is static, referring to discrete facts, while Understanding is active, describing the ability to analyze and place those facts in context to form a big picture, perhaps objectively.

‘Understanding’ is processed in the brain. It is defined as ‘a psychological process related to a person, object, situation, or messages which require an individual to think and use concepts to deal with.’

Because of this distinct difference, many times we get into difficult or delicate situations. Normally, this happens when someone comes to us with some problems for solution, or while just indulging in a conversation on some subject quite animatedly. I have come across many discussions in science and technology related topics, the arguments extending to such an extent that the situation will turn grave and explosive.

We, in our study on the safety of the chemical plants had faced the exact difference between ‘knowing’ and ‘understanding’. We used a systematic technique called ‘Hazard and Operability Studies’ (acronym HAZOP) which involves and necessitates the input from different engineers from design, operating, instrumentation, safety professional and the plant manager mainly and many more related to it. Some groups used to be very receptive and ‘understanding’ while some just ‘know’ like us when we study the process. The clashes have to be solved by the Chairman of the Study. I chaired many sessions like this for different kinds of plants, processes for the industries. But, at one stage I felt this exercise quite exasperating and galling. At that point I said ‘quits’.

But, that doesn't mean I am not facing such situations in life. I did, I do and I will be. Only the context and topics may be different. But, today, I feel it is better to avoid discussion or confrontation once you could guess the other person’s psyche because it only hurts both parties. Better to leave things to take their own courses.

All of us know the popular adage ‘you may win an argument but lose a friend.’

It is wise to leave the person with the problem to ‘understand’ it on their own from just ‘knowing’.

Share This:
26-Feb-2022
More by :  G Swaminathan
 
Top | Perspective
 
Views: 282      Comments: 0




Name *
Email ID
 (will not be published)
Comment *
Characters
Verification Code*
Can't read? Reload
Please fill the above code for verification.
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
1999-2022 All Rights Reserved
 
No part of this Internet site may be reproduced without prior written permission of the copyright holder
.