Knowledge vs Experience

There is a difference in the knowledge of reading about something, and the knowledge of experiencing something.

It’s the difference between the knowing in our heads and knowing from the heart. 

If you’ve been to the Grand Canyon, you know with your whole being the expanse of it all. There are no words to describe it. The grand scale of the depth is beyond what any wikipedia entry could ever help you to know if you’ve never been there. Yes, you can look at a picture, study the stats, and recount the history of how it came to be. But that will never get close to the experience one gets by standing on the South Rim.

This reminds me of the powerful scene in Good Will Hunting when Sean confronts Will that not all things in life is about knowledge from a book. 

Voltaire said it well, “The perfect is the enemy of the good.” Letting go of the perfect: The ideal; the manicured or curated social medialife. This might allow us to experience the good. 

What we know with our heads sometimes keeps us from knowing with our hearts. We think we know something because we read about it or watched a Ted talk about it. We are inundated with pictures, data, and the expanse of words that tell us about things in life. Yet we’re impoverished in actually experiencing these same things. 

What might we find — about ourselves, or others — if we moved away from the comfort of knowing, to the discomfort of experience? 



The word “comfort” comes from the Latin word which means “strengthen greatly.” We use this word to describe relief from distress more so than strength in our distress.

In Western culture, the majority of us have a variety of “things” that are comfortable. Comfort food. Comfortable shoes. A comfy sweatshirt. Comfortable friendships. Comfortable habits. Comfortable life.

But sometimes that which is of comfort is not all that helpful. Comfortable isolation. The relief of familiar thought about ourselves or others. The comfort of more food. The ease of sleeping in instead of getting up early to exercise. 

Discomfort is not typically on our menu of options we gleefully chose for our lives. Yet it is the discomfort that moves us to change, or causes us to do something different with our lives. 

Many times it is our comforts that keep us from becoming who God created us to be.