Is Knowledge Power?

phren

We are a data driven society. Polls are taken regarding virtually any subject and consume far more of the media than the actual events they attempt to predict. Reliable instant communications allows twenty-four hour news to feed us information on scandals far and wide. We are shocked by the collapse of a clothing factory in Bangladesh or by the suspected use of chemical weapons in Syria. We have access to unemployment data, Gross Domestic Product and how each affects Wall Street in real time.

We believe that if we decode all the data in DNA, we could recreate mammoths, or even dinosaurs.

Satellites feed us data to allow us to accurately predict the weather days in advance (except when the surprise severe storm appears.)

Does that make us powerful? I think not.

Knowledge is only powerful when it is used to make a decision and then execute that decision. If we read about a disaster and it causes us (and countless others) to make a donation to an organization that is helping out, that’s powerful. If knowing about a house fire causes us to check our smoke detectors and buy a fire extinguisher that means something.

Merely knowing is inconsequential. Knowing what to do with what you’ve learned is wherein the power lies.

3 responses to “Is Knowledge Power?

  1. You might like to read Proofiness by Charles Seife (I asked for and got it for Christmas, but have still only skimmed bits), he talks about how adding in statistics and/or math skews our perception of a subject.

    • Beth,
      I’ve got it on my list of future books. There was one about 20 years ago called “Innumeracy” – illiteracy with numbers. I’ll try to remember to let you know when I read “Proofiness.”
      Steve

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