This I Believe

Robert - Fort Worth, Texas
Entered on January 25, 2007
Age Group: 50 - 65

I believe that understanding is more valuable than knowing.

I find that when I tell someone else that I know something (and it is a habit that is very hard to break), they are immediately put on the defensive because they feel I am telling them that I know something and they do not. When I say that I know something, I’m setting up an argument because I have not left myself any flexibility for discussion.

However, when I tell someone else that I understand something, they feel that I am trying to share something with them, not take a position. In fact, understanding has to be shared in order to happen: it only takes one person to know something, but it takes at least one other person to understand something. The term mutual understanding exists in a way that mutual knowing cannot.

I believe the difference between understanding and knowing is more than semantic; it is a difference in attitude.

And I believe you understand what I mean.