How does Bertrand Russell differentiate between knowledge and wisdom in “Knowledge and Wisdom”

The famous British Philosopher, Bertrand Russell, in his essay Knowledge and Wisdom opines that the present age is an age of Knowledge. But with the increase of Knowledge, there is no corresponding increase of wisdom. Hence wisdom should be taught. In this essay, Russel differentiates between knowledge and wisdom.

Knowledge and wisdom are not synonymous. Knowledge means what a person comes to know by study, research, experience, etc, but wisdom tells us how we are to use this knowledge to our best advantage or to the good of humanity. If knowledge is an engine, wisdom is the driver.

Wisdom is a comprehensive vision, the power to see what results on the action will produce, while knowledge is concerned only with the action; it does not care to see the results. The research is scientific medicine gives us the knowledge which enables us to lower the infant death rate in many countries. But, the knowledge so gained does not enable us to see that the lowering of the death rate will lead to an increase in population, which will make the food supply inadequate and lower the standard of life. It is wisdom that will enable us to see this evil result of the research in scientific medicine. Knowledge not driven by wisdom will spell disaster to man.

Unlike wisdom knowledge has nothing to do with ‘the tyranny of the here and the now’. Knowledge can reach the stage of wisdom only when it enables a man to free himself from the clutch of egoism and view the world with impartiality.

Though knowledge and wisdom are not synonyms they are correlated. With every increase of knowledge, wisdom becomes more necessary, for every such increase augments our capacity of realizing our purposes and therefore augments our capacity for evil if our purposes are unwise. Knowledge has enormously increased in modern times, so the knowledge continues to increase, the world will need wisdom in the future even more than it does now.