Knowledge Is Power, Really?

And so I grew up being someone who is usually the last to know about something or someone. Who likes who, who hates who, who got attached, who got married, who got pregnant, who gave birth, or even scandalous news, etc etc etc. I used to lament that I am ‘slow’ in receiving these news when I was younger but today, I count it a blessing [sometimes, I would like to stress, sometimes] to have a short antenna, and being the last to know about something from the grapevine. (High-five to those who are like me!)

I remembered a [close] friend asking me, “Do you know if they are still together?”, or “What is your view on so-and-so?”, questions like that. On the things that bear no importance to me such as news about who and who broke up, who did this to who, usually my curiosity don’t get the better of me [albeit sometimes it does, haha]. I replied with a rather lukewarm “Erm, I don’t know and I don’t really care actually.. I mean, it doesn’t concern us ma. Better not to know.” – More often than not, those seemingly harmless conversations turn into a gossip and/or thrashing session, I have sat through my fair share and would not want to go through another.

The friend asked me another question, “Actually we don’t need to search out something we don’t know about the Word (referring to the Bible) since we all get to Heaven anyways.” Of course, being a Bible-believing believer and a er-hm, good friend that I am, I asked “Why?” A mistake to ask certainly that was. He replied, “Because don’t know ma. So better not to know lor. Then we won’t be judged for what we don’t know ma.”

He shot me back with a final “Knowledge is power. We should find out what we don’t know.”

I was stunned in my mind but managed to pull off a “Mmmmmm. Yup.” in good faith so that the friendship is not compromised over a small discourse of ideas.

And so, in this day and age we have all heard of, echoed and regurgitated the all-famous “Knowledge is power” quote by sixteen century English philosopher Sir Francis Bacon at one point. Schools, educational institutes and the Government had also fully accepted this mantra-of-a-quote and put their money where their mouth is, pushing for education (Our robust education system is highly sought after in the Asia-Pacific region and NUS was ranked the top university in Asia!) above all else.

So, knowledge is power, really?

With both hands and legs up, I totally agree that knowledge is power. With knowledge, one knows how to start a fire to keep the night warm and nice. With knowledge, one doesn’t have to perform acts in accordance to the old wives’ tale to get an ailment treated. With knowledge, one won’t give birth to a litter. With knowledge, young adults are given job opportunities. With knowledge, we understand how to navigate through this complex social system that exist in our time. The truth is, with knowledge everything becomes better. Knowledge is power.

Even when it comes to vice, knowledge gives us the ability to walk away from it. Knowledge of the consequences of consuming drugs, participating in criminal activities gives us the strengthened choice to make the right decision to walk away albeit some still making all the wrong moves. Knowledge is power!

This statement is all good, so what’s the big deal?
















If I can put it in the most laymen term, it’s simply being very kay-poh and/or being a gossip-monger. How does knowledge of other people’s [very personal] lives [more like scandals] enrich ours? Because it gives us a conversation topic to discuss and rubbish about? About why this guy broke up with this girl, for example. Because it is self-serving and makes us feel better about ourselves?

In my humble opinion, I think there’s no problem with this statement or quote. Knowledge truly is power because it allows the bearer to make informed decisions. If I can give a definition to it, I believe the quote is used as a universal form of expression that amassing and acquiring knowledge gives us enlightenment, educated, informed to make better choices. However, let’s not be deceived and misuse the application of the quote.

So let’s be well educated people and not lump two completely different matters together.

There’s knowledge that empowers the wielder, and there is knowledge with absolutely zero value and worth.

So knowledge is power, yes? Yes, of course!

So does All knowledge equates power? I leave it to your discretion.

Writer’s Note: The degree I want to know something seemingly ‘scandalous’ is also dependent on my perceived idea of the direction the conversation is steering towards and also the intent of the person who asked the question. If the question is intentionally asked to lead one to an unhealthy, biased, worthless, slandering, gossip-driven point of view, I would prefer not to know his perspective, much less participate in it. Thank you very much!

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