I've been discussing with some folks the process of knowing (for lack of a better term), and thought I'd post the results so far here.
Information -> Knowledge -> Understanding -> Wisdom
external-> internal -> integration -> correct application
Information is knowledge transmitted: Discreet facts and such.
Knowledge is information internalized. It is not the facts themselves, but the containment of the facts within an individual. It is also not necessarily understanding. Rote Memorization could come under the definition of knowledge, where the information is grasped but not understood.
Simple knowledge is exemplified by memory work. Being able to memorize a lecture gives me knowledge of the words. If you ask me what follows a particular phrase, I can answer the question. Knowledge is "what." Daath.
Understanding is more difficult, and no simple exercise exists for it. Understanding is hard work and it requires thought, not just recitation. If you ask me about the importance of a phrase in a lecture and I paraphrase Pike's, Waite's, or Higgin's thoughts, I have not demonstrated understanding - only knowledge. Understand is only shown when I stick my neck out and synthesize from the three (or fix the car). Understanding is "how." Binah.
Wisdom is an order of magnitude beyond understanding. Wisdom is the ultimate aim of the quest - the Cauldron of Rebirth known as the Grail. I can say little on this topic because one of the things that I know for sure is that I am not there yet. Wisdom is "why." Chokmah.
Thanks to Bro. Chuck for the definitions in Italics.
You can only define things so far before you start to get fairly vague on what it is you're defining, no matter how precise you try to be. Using words to define words is, at it's heart, circular. It's like trying to use logic to prove logic. However, we can try to be as precise as possible, especially in our line of inquiry.
But I think that it's a useful exercise for understanding and perhaps even wisdom, to take and think about the process of knowing. The continuum of what we've been talking about is interesting. And, as it's a continuum, you can know something and kind of understand it, or know some of the information, or wisely apply some of what you understand. The categories are not hard nor fast.