Is Data Really Knowledge?

“…it’s easy, and it’s seductive, to assume that data is really knowledge. Or that information is, indeed, wisdom. Or that knowledge can exist without data. And how easy, and how effortlessly, one can parade and disguise itself as another. And how quickly we can forget that wisdom without knowledge, wisdom without any data, is just a hunch.” — Toni Morrison.

The Nobel winning author, Toni Morrison, made the above observations long before the days of social media and “fake news.” She said these words as she examined her own works and the arrogance that comes from data, that we accept as information, that quickly becomes knowledge, and then wisdom.

In our Lenten work of service, we often take data and jump to the conclusion that we best know how to serve. We fail to take in the intimate knowledge we can gain from personal interaction and confuse data with real knowledge.

Go to those you wish to serve first. They can supply wisdom that brings the personal to the data we confuse as knowledge.

Our neighbors wisdom is the start of our own.



About the author

Webb Hubbell is the former Associate Attorney General of The United States. His novels, When Men Betray, Ginger Snaps, A Game of Inches, The Eighteenth Green, and The East End are published by Beaufort Books and are available online or at your local bookstore. When Men Betray won one of the IndieFab awards for best novel in 2014. Ginger Snaps and The Eighteenth Green won the IPPY Awards Gold Medal for best suspense/thriller. His latest, “Light of Day” will be on the bookstands soon.

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