The leverage of language LO24447

From: Roger Key (
Date: 04/25/00

Replying to LO24397 --

HI All,

Winfried Dressler wrote:

>'Kenntnis - Knowledge' is something I 'wissen (Verb) - to know'
>'Wissen (Noun) - Knowledge' is something I 'verstehen - understand'
>I think our english speaking friends here can very well understand (!)
>that it makes sense to distinguish knowledge which simply need to be known
>and knowledge which need to be understood. May be someone can even offer
>two words for these two kinds of knowledge, which I just don't know (!)

I may have missed something here, but is the knowledge that simply need to
be known INFORMATION? and the knowledge that needs to be understood

My understanding is that we start with chaos, from this we can measure and
monitor to produce DATA. When we put this data into context we have
INFORMATION. If we use this information to test our theory we develop
KNOWLEDGE. When we can take this knowledge and use it to make changes in
the system based on a sound theory and prediction we are expressing
UNDERSTANDING and when we can use this understanding in many systems to
identify when, where and how to make an intervention to the betterment of
the system as a whole we are showing WISDOM.

Another idea that I find useful was expressed by E. F. Schumacher in
"Small is Beautiful" where he distinguishes between CONVERGENT and
DIVERGENT solutions.

Convergent solutions are typified by the simplification of systems through
analysis which brings out recipies and step by step guides to improvememt.
Like education would be better if we paid teachers on performance.
COnvergent solutions do not work where we have a divergent problem.
Education is a divergen problem, the solutions will probably be unique to
each application, but have common systemic charecteristics. Systems
thinking tends to lead us to divergent solutions to divergent problems.

Examples of useful convergent solutions are usually man made, eg
Pythagora's Theorum and work in all instances because they are simple
problems with simple answers, they only need information to work. In
Epistemology I understand that they would be termed TRUTHs. Divergent
solutions are more complex and need knowledge and understanding to work.
I understand that these would be called FACTs.

So that give two other possibilities to the question of knowledge we just
have to know and that we need to understand.

Information = convergent knowledge = Truths.

Knowledge = Divergent Knowledge = Facts.

Any comments??????


Roger C. Key
Prescient - The Whole as One
(44) 01639 871062
Learn about Deming and CQI on line at

 - The web site. coming to a PC near you soon! -


Roger Key <>

Learning-org -- Hosted by Rick Karash <> Public Dialog on Learning Organizations -- <>

"Learning-org" and the format of our message identifiers (LO1234, etc.) are trademarks of Richard Karash.