Knowledge and Wisdom
By Lin Wei
Knowledge and Wisdom
By Wei Lin
As an idea people used to talk about but could hardly put over clearly, the relations between knowledge and wisdom are closely related to their daily life, such as in learning, education, science and technology and so on.
The relationship between knowledge and wisdom is something that we have long been trying to pin down, but to no avail. Notwithstanding its elusive nature, this issue merits further discussion, for it undoubtedly has much to do with our learning, education, life, science, technology, and so on.
Knowledge may be understood as systematized facts about the physical world that have so far been recognized. Wisdom, on the other hand, is hard to define precisely; the common definitions found in reference books are barely satisfactory, since they are often confused with those of capability or cleverness.
While “knowledge” could be regarded as “human beings’ systematic perception of the objective facts in the physical world to this day”, “wisdom” is very difficult, if not impossible, to define. Explanations offered in various reference books are far from satisfactory, as the so-called wisdom is often confused with competence or cleverness.
Unlike many others, I believe that knowledge underpins wisdom since it is hard to imagine a wise man who is ignorant. For example, the strategy of Zhuge Liang (an embodiment of wisdom in China’s history) in harnessing the east wind to fire on his enemy was based on his profound knowledge of astronomy and geography. Likewise, the Old Man on the frontier (a legendary figure in Chinese folk tales) regained his stallion (plus an extra one) by knowing the habits of the horse very well. In a sense, Aristotle regarded wisdom as a kind of knowledge.
Contrary to what many people might think, my opinion is that knowledge constitutes the basis of wisdom, because it seems inconceivable that a man of wisdom could be ignorant. For example, it would not have dawned upon Zhuge Liang, the epitome of wisdom, that sufficient arrows could be “borrowed” from the opponent army with the aid of an “east wind”, but for his rich knowledge in astronomy and geography. Similarly, had the “old man at the frontier” known little about horses, he could not have regained his lost possession. No wonder Aristotle came to the conclusion that wisdom is, in a certain sense, some kind of knowledge.
 Zhuge Liang (181-234), a well-known Chinese military strategist who served as a chancellor of the state of Shu Han during the Three Kingdoms period.
 Zhuge Liang once obtained, with straw boats, more than 100,000 arrows from Cao Cao’s army.
And yet, in no way can having knowledge be equated with having wisdom, because an illiterate may gain insight into a complicated issue while a professor of philosophy could do something quite stupid in some simple matters.
Nevertheless, it should be noted that knowledge can by no means be equated with wisdom, because an illiterate man might be able to keep a very complicated issue in perspective whereas a philosophy professor could do something quite stupid in his dealing with simple matters.
Confucius said, “Learning without thinking throws one into perplexity, while thinking without learning leads one into jeopardy”. “Learning” and “thinking” could here be denoted respectively as acquiring knowledge and applying knowledge, with the latter being transformed into wisdom.
Confucius once remarked, “Learning without thinking is labor lost; thinking without learning is perilous.” In this context, “learning” can be taken as acquiring knowledge while “thinking” might be seen as the application of knowledge to arrive at wisdom.
 Chinese philosopher (551-479 B.C.), whose ideas about the importance of practical moral values were collected by his disciples in the Analects and formed the basis of the philosophy of Confucianism.
Knowledge can only be possessed and accumulated externally, while wisdom is brought into play and sublimed internally, as Lao Zi elaborated: “Acquiring knowledge results in daily personal growth, while pursuing Dao (the highest wisdom) results in daily contraction.”
Knowledge can be possessed while wisdom is not exclusive to any particular person. Knowledge is derived from the outside world while wisdom comes from within. The more knowledge one accumulates, the more comprehensive it gets; in contrast, the greater the wisdom, the simpler it becomes, hence the saying by Lao-tzu, “Learning is addition whereas the practice of Tao is subtraction.”
 Chinese philosopher (around 600 B.C.), traditionally regarded as the founder of Taoism and author of the Tao-te-Ching.
 A line from Lao-tzu’s Tao-te-Ching, Chapter 48.
Learning, as a consistent objective, has to be categorized into different logically-connected disciplines for acquisition; wisdom, on the other hand, is applied holistically and creatively. There are no such things as good and evil in knowledge, which can only be induced and summarized, but they invade wisdom, which is manipulated quite differently by individuals.
In terms of human intelligence, knowledge can be categorized according to subject or discipline, but wisdom knows no boundaries between different subjects. Compared with knowledge, which is relatively objective, consistent and logic, wisdom is subjective, individual and creative. While knowledge is neither good nor bad, wisdom could be either good or bad. In the final analysis, knowledge is deduced, abstracted and put to use by wisdom.
In dealing with specific cases, capability needs to be guided by wisdom. Cleverness, in a narrow sense, may also be regarded as wisdom.
Competence is the application of wisdom in a specific case while cleverness can be seen as wisdom in a narrow sense.
Wisdom, which also includes sentiments, character, ideas, virtue, temperament, mingling with various external factors and convenient conditions, is actually beyond words, culminating in great wisdom that looks like folly. To be precise, wisdom of this kind, excluding knowledge, capability and cleverness, can never be replaced by any artificial intelligence.
Honestly, I am afraid language can not fully convey the rich tapestry of wisdom, for it also involves one’s emotions, character, views, values, dispositions and a combination of various other elements, such as an opportune time and favorable geographic conditions. “A man of great wisdom is like a fool”, so goes a Chinese saying. This is what true wisdom is about. Therefore, we need to distinguish between knowledge and wisdom, and realize that even though artificial intelligence (AI) may replace knowledge, competence and cleverness, it would never take the place of human wisdom.
在第六段中，“知识可以占有，智慧只能发挥；知识向外求得，智慧于内感悟；知识越获越丰富，智慧越凝越升华”，一般译文都采取了类似的句式，如“Knowledge can be occupied but wisdom can only be exerted; Knowledge is acquired from the external, wisdom is inspired from the internal; knowledge can be more and more abundant, wisdom can be more and more sublime.”“Knowledge may be possessed, while wisdom must be fulfilled spontaneously. Knowledge may come from acquisition, while wisdom must be derived from introspection. Knowledge can be accumulated, while wisdom must be refined.”等，当然不能算错，但可否延伸一步到语篇的领域？
著名语篇学家范戴克（Van Dijk）指出，“话语和篇章中，不仅在线性的句子和句子之间存在着各种微观的连贯关系，从话语的整体和全局来看，也存在着宏观结构，而这种结构又决定了话语和篇章的整体连贯和组织”。其中的关键词是“整体”“全局”“连贯”，缘于英文的形合特点，故不妨将其“整合”为一句：Knowledge can only be possessed and accumulated externally, while wisdom is brought into play and sublimed internally.
同理，第七段中的“对于人的智力，知识是分学科的，而智慧则是打通的；知识具有客观性、一致性、逻辑性，智慧则具主观性、个体性、创造性”，一般译成“For human mentality, knowledge can be classified into different disciplines, while wisdom is a unity; Knowledge is objective, consistent and logic, while wisdom is subjective, individualistic and creative; …”“For the intelligence of people, knowledge is divided into disciplines, while wisdom is generalized; Knowledge is objective, consistent and logical, where wisdom is subjective, personal and creative …”等。当然，一等奖获得者对此的翻译很是明晰、到位：In terms of human intelligence, knowledge can be categorized according to subject or discipline, but wisdom knows no boundaries between different subjects. Compared with knowledge, which is relatively objective, consistent and logic, wisdom is subjective, individual and creative. 参考译文则对此做了引申处理: 鉴于这里的“对于人的智力”主要是指对于知识的获得而言，故可用acquisition；所谓“打通”（get through、connected、merges them together等），实际是一种整体思维，故可用holistic / holistically等。对于接续的内容，也未严守原文的词序，而是以目的语的思路和习惯，对其进行了重新组织：Learning, as a consistent objective（一致性、客观性）, has to be categorized into different logically-connected（逻辑性）disciplines for acquisition; wisdom, on the other hand, is used holistically（打通的、主观性） and creatively（创造性）… which is manipulated quite differently by individuals（个体性）。
亦如，第一段中，对于“与人们的学习、教育、生活、科技等方面有关”，也可不必“按部就班”，而不妨先将“生活”（their daily life）提前表述，因其余方面实属生活的一部分：… to their daily life, such as in learning, education, science and technology and so on. 因而，从一个角度，试图说明语言是为表达思维服务的，而其在两种之间的如意转换，可不被原语所羁绊。
更为典型的，是第九段中的“智慧其实无法尽用语言概括——还包括情感、品格、观念、德行、性情以及与天时地利等综合因素的整合，……”，一般都顺同原文译成“As a matter of fact, wisdom cannot be entirely summarized with words. It also includes different comprehensive factors such as, emotions, characteristics, perspectives, virtues, temperaments and opportunities of right time and places and so on, …”“In fact, it is impossible to generalize wisdom in words because it concludes feeling, characteristic, idea, morality, personality and the integration of perfect timing and opportunity, among which …”等，即将主语谓语按中文集中译出；其实，统观该语境，“无法尽用语言概括”的内容，不只是“智慧”，还有破折号后面的成分，故不妨将其“合拢”，归于同一谓语之下（Wisdom, which also includes sentiments, character, ideas, virtue, temperament, mingling with various external factors and convenient conditions, is actually beyond words, …），以收到更好的整体效果。同时，“尽”用，实为“穷尽”之意，即exhausting the means of language（当然不必如此刻意译出），这涉及到语言的局限性。为此，笔者曾写有专文“语言的局限”（Limitations of Language，《英语学习》2015/02），可参阅。
篇章是由点和线组成的，因而点、线细节上的质量也决定了段落乃至整篇的质量。第二段中的“能力”，参赛者使用的词汇有competence、ability、capability、ta-lent、facility等，以前三者居多。分析起来，competence（the ability to do something well, measured against a standard, especially ability acquired through experience or train-ing）多指某一专业领域的能力，如：①He showed great professional competence…（他显示出很强的专业能力……）②He will be expected to show competence in the re-levant methods of research.（他可望在相关的研究方法上显露才干。）等；而ability （a natural tendency to do something successfully or well; the quality or skill that makes it possible for a person to do things well）涵盖了competence；又涵盖ability者为 capacity （the power or ability that enables people to carry out their tasks in a society）, 如：We are living in a society which demands of everyone the capacity to read and write.（我们生活在一个要求人人具有读写能力的社会。）故以该词为宜。
“聪明”，有这样一些选择：intelligent、ingeniousness、talent、smartness、clev-erness等。其中intelligent的本质是“good at thinking clearly and quickly, at understanding difficult ideas and subjects, and at gaining and using knowledge”，其意在某种程度上接近wisdom （the ability to make sensible decisions and give good advice because of the experience and knowledge that you have），而ingeniousness、talent更多“天才”成分，故应予以排除。值得辨析的是后两个。smartness主要是指表面的靓丽和灵气（pleasantly neat and dexterous in appearance），如：He seemed impressed by her smartness.（他似乎被她的不俗仪表所打动。）cleverness主要指一种思维敏捷、巧言花语的小聪明（quick at learning and understanding things; quick with words in a way that annoys people or does not show respect）。余秋雨先生称上海人“精明而不聪明”，大概可译为“The Shanghai natives are clever but not wise (或penny wise and pound foolish)”，故此处以该词为宜。
同段中，对于“知识”（knowledge）其实有很多种定义，如“Facts, informa-tion, and skills acquired through experience or education”“The theoretical or practical understanding of a subject”“The sum of what is known / True, justified belief; certain understanding, as opposed to opinion”等，此处为中文教科书式的理解。而对于“系统化的认知”，许多人译成了systematized recognition of the objective realities、systematic cognition of objective facts等，看似有道理，但分析起来，其实质指的是“被人们认知了的系统化的知识”，即“客观事实系统化的认知”，人们“将所认识的事实系统化”，故应为systematized facts (that have so far been recognized)。“物质世界”在学术上是physical world, 而非material world，整句见参考译文。
同时，接下来“相混淆”的内容，是“其解释”，而非“智慧”本身，即不是许多人译的“wisdom is always confused with …”，而是“… definitions found in reference books … are often confused with …”，故有个界定主谓语的问题。
第三段中的“智慧化身”，许多人译成incarnation of wisdom。应知，incar-nation的原意是a person or thing that is an extremely strong example of a particular quality，特别是指an instance of being alive on earth in a particular form，颇具宗教色彩，如：Some religions believe that people have several incarnations in different forms.（有些宗教认为人有几种不同的化身。）所以更确切的应为embodiment、symbol、represent、emblem等。
同段中，“不同于许多人的观点”不一定是don’t agree with many other peo-ple’s opinions。“不可想象”亦非永远unimaginable / unconceivable / unthinkable等，而可适当变通，以表“不易”。接下来的比喻，中文未用“例如”等词，以求连贯，而英文里则需加上for example / for instance，以及在下个例子之间的similarly / likewise等。“亚里士多德说”指的是一种观点，故不一定总是said / say等。
就细节而言，塞翁失而复得的是什么“马”？一般人都译成了horse, 但马中又有stallion、mare、steed、mount、charger、pony等之分。根据《易经》的六十四个复卦（hexagram），其中第一个和第二个分别为乾卦和坤卦，俗称“乾坤易之门”。乾卦卦辞曰“元亨利贞”，坤卦卦辞曰“元亨利牝马之贞”，乾代表天，其特质是“健”，即长久地保持“刚”，为君子自强不息之道理。坤代表地，其特质是“顺”“柔”，即配合或成全。在该典故中，由于塞翁了解马的习性，即母马（牝马）跟着公马跑，而他走失的那匹为公马（stallion，而非mare母马），故又带回了另一匹（plus an extra one）。有人用了steed（战马），亦有不妥，因那是阉割过的公马，已失去这种天性。
在第四段中，“做出蠢事”似还可译成do dumb things / do stupid things / do such a foolish thing等，这里用了do something quite stupid in some simple matters，以显简单直白。
在第七段中，“知识没有善恶，智慧却可善可恶”，一般容易译成“there are no good and evil in knowledge, but there are in wisdom”“knowledge doesn’t divide into good and evil, while wisdom does”等，但更深一层的意思是：其实智慧中充满了善与恶的因素和目的，否则就谈不上智慧，故这里使用了一个看似有些夸张的词语invade，该词在这里不是一般意义上的to intrude upon，而是penetrate，如：①Doubts invaded his mind.（他满腹狐疑。）②Immense happiness invaded me, remembered clearly to this day.（我沉浸在极度的幸福中，此情此景至今记忆犹新。）③Her image invaded his mind with immense power.（现在他满脑子都是她的形象，其魅力势不可挡。）同时，“应用”未用通常的apply / application等，而用了manipulate，其义为to control / handle，故以求更加契合效果（如前所述）。
值得一提的是，许多人将词语间的关系弄错了。如第一段中“它的确与人们的学习、教育、生活、科技等方面有关”，译成“Wisdom is correlated with various issues including learning …”，即是将“它”理解成了wisdom，实则应是“知识与智慧的关系”。
就一等奖的译文而言，在所有参赛译文中的确出类拔萃，令人眼前一亮；即便如此，在细节上也并非没有瑕疵或可推敲之处。譬如，将第七段中的“逻辑性”（logical）译成logic，第三段中的“东风”译成 an “east wind”（冠词an应为the），“天文地理知识”译成knowledge in astronomy and geography（介词 in应为 of），第六段中的“老子说”译成hence the saying by Lao-tzu（其中的the和by可去掉，改为hence Lao-tzu’s saying/aphorism …），第九段中的“天时”译成an opportune time（可将an删去，改为opportune timing），等等。
具体而言，典型地体现在对中国传统文化因素的处理上。第五段中，孔子的“学而不思则罔，思而不学则殆”的名言已有多种译法，如韦利（Arthur Waley）、安乐哲（Roger T. Ames）、赖波、谷学等，其中信与顺的平衡不一，而参赛译文“套用”第一种的最多，但该译文是顺大于信的。同时，“引用”则应注明，否则不宜全文抄录。分析起来，罔为“惘”的通假字，迷惑，“不求诸心，故昏而无得”（朱熹《集注》）；殆为“殆，危也”“不习其事，故危而不安”（朱熹《集注》），亦可转化为“缺乏信心”（杨伯峻《译注》）。现代汉语可理解为：“只学习不思考就会迷惘无获，只苦思不学习便会困顿不决。”参考译文亦有在“知识”与“智慧”的语境下的理解，特别是要与下文相衔接，以更加顺达：这里的“学”可理解为获得知识，“思”则是对于知识的运用，形成智慧。（“Learning” and “thinking” could here be denoted respectively as acquiring knowledge and applying knowledge, with the latter being transformed into wisdom.）
第六段中，老子的“为学日益，为道日损”论断，亦可有不同译法，如“To pursue learning you increase day by day; to pursue Dao you decrease day by day.”“The follower of knowledge learns as much as he can every day; The follower of the Way forgets as much as he can every day.”“Learning results in daily increase; Practicing Dao results in daily decrease.”等。对其微言大义，华裔美国学者有一精辟论述：What Confucius is fostering is a culture of incremental learning and active doing. By contrast, Lao Zi promotes a counter culture that is decremental and quietistic. The goal is for society to return to a state of peaceful Non-doing. To follow Lao Zi’s teaching, however, one needs to stop busying around with things. A busybody can never have the wisdom to govern the world. 即是将道家的“无为”与儒家的“进取”相比较，才能真正理解其“益”与“损”的涵义；而参考译文中对Dao特意解释为the highest wisdom，也是出于语境的需要。
第九段中的“大智若愚”，可译的选择很多，如“Who knows the most, speaks the least”“a wisest man behaves like an idiot”“foolish in disguise as the highest level”“a great sage often seems slow-witted”等，但鉴于“智慧”为本文的中心词之一，故不妨更加明确，如“The highest stage in wisdom is when ‘still waters run deep’”“a man with great wisdom often appears to be slow-witted”“the supreme form of wisdom is disguised in foolishness”“its highest state is that it seems that one is lacking in knowledge, but actually endowed with profound wisdom”等，而参考译文对culminate与great wisdom的结合，作了相应变通。
第八段中，“能力，是智慧在某一具体环节上的运用”很容易译成“Ability is to apply wisdom to a specific situation”等，显得不够顺达；同时，宜限定在相应的状语前提之下，包括后面的in a narrow sense 等。
如前所述，出于英文形合的特点，在表述上宜整不宜碎。典型的，第一段中，“知识与智慧的关系，是人们历来愿意谈论而又似乎谈不清的问题；然而，它的确与人们的学习、教育、生活、科技等方面有关”，一般都采取了这样的句式：The relationship between knowledge and wisdom is the question that … However, it is indeed related to…，其实不妨将原文中的宾语“人们历来愿意谈论而又似乎谈不清的问题”变通为译文中的同位语As an idea people used to talk about but could hardly put over clearly，而将主语置后，即可整合为一句，更为简达。
此外，词语冗赘也是翻译中信与顺应当消除的因素，如第四段中“一个大字不识的人”，许多参赛者译成了“One illiterate that even doesn’t know one single word”“a man with littler knowledge who cannot read”等，实则an illiterate即可。
 Dijk Van. Macrostructures: An Interdisciplinary Study of Global Structure in Discourse, Interaction and Cognition. New Jersey: Law-rence Erlbaum, 1990, p. 3.
 Charles Q. Wu. Thus Spoken Laozi. Beijing: Foreign Language Teaching and Research Press, 2013, p.115.