heart and head…

I just had a rich conversation with a friend about the difference between knowledge and belief.

One point made was that knowledge is a cognitive thing – in the head.  And that belief is a corporeal thing – deeply heartfelt.

Our discussion went on to explore whether we could believe something without knowing it (eg. God) – or if we could know something without believing it (eg. horrifying medical diagnoses).

And THEN we went on to ponder what word we’d use to join our heart and head – for those times when knowledge and belief commingle (eg. true love).    We came up with GUT.

wOw – heavy stuff for a Monday morning, eh?   What better time to ponder the imponderable – when we’re fresh & ready to begin again?

What do you think?  What’s the difference between knowledge and belief for you?  And if there is a difference for you, what word would you use to join them?

4 thoughts on “heart and head…

  1. This is timely, Lisa. My son (lawyer and philosophy major) and I had a 90-minute conversation yesterday about just this subject, which has long been a source of misunderstanding between us. He thinks religious belief is at best delusional and at worst dishonest. He believes that if you can’t define the terms you’re using, you can’t have a meaningful discussion. I have been using the expression “felt knowing” to connect belief and knowledge, I don’t remember where I first came across that expression, but it works for me. Unfortunately, it doesn’t work for him . . .

  2. Whew…a very heavy question! I’ll have to admit, I have no idea when I realized the difference between “knowledge” and “belief.” I do know that I spent most of my younger years thinking that knowledge was the key. Knowledge and what you could “do.” Belief was always there (always), but usually played a secondary part to what I needed to do and accomplish. I never saw the difference between the two until I was in my 40s. Sometime in my mid-40s, I began to realize I wasn’t in total control of the Universe. DAMN….what an awakening! Then, for the first time, I began to look for something beyond my own small views of the things happening around me. I didn’t know it then, but that’s the first time I began to understand the “belief” side of things. I know it sounds way too “new age”, but that’s the first time I began to see/understand the things in life that were/are bigger than me. Very rude awakening.

    So when I see younger people (aka, my own sons) who don’t quite see this whole thing yet, I really do understand. Like me, they’re caught up in being who they are right now. Not much time to be interested in things outside their wants and needs. But I can see the same seeds in there…..the overall need to understand things. I guess those seeds don’t hatch until we’re in our 40s or so. At least that was the case with me. But when they do hatch, the difference between knowledge and belief becomes pretty clear. Just my thoughts, but if you have knowledge without belife, you’ll always come up just a little short of empty.

  3. Susan, ‘felt knowing’ – that’s beautiful. thanks for the lesson.

    Tom, those awakenings can really zap us, eh? i believe what you mean (and know, too!). thanks!

  4. tom~ what a beautiful comment!
    was reminded of something i wrote a long time ago…

    “one must never replace
    the mind
    true wisdom
    in the soul…” j.stone

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