Sir Francis Bacon stated scientia potentia est in Latin, which literally translates into”For also knowledge itself is power”, which later came to read: “Knowledge is Power”. I must have heard this expression a million times – I have to admit that it used to make perfect sense before, but as i grew more “knowledgeable”, that same expression started making less and less of it (sense).
Let’s start off by looking at the definitions of both knowledge and power.
knowledge is defined by the Oxford English Dictionary as (i) expertise, and skills acquired by a person through experience or education; the theoretical or practical understanding of a subject …
the philosophical definition of Power (or in this case Social Power) is the ability to control one’s environment or other entities.
Sounds simple, right? OK, but let’s take this one step further and alternate the definition of power to include sources of power like air, water, fuel, solar, etc … How does this change the perception of the aforementioned expression “Knowledge is Power”? I believe that “Knowledge is a source of power” is the deduced statement.
Logically speaking, fuel, air, etc … will remain to be sources of power if not used – so for the sake argument, these elements alone don’t provide power – the same logic can be applied to knowledge.
In Francis Bacon’s era between 1500s and 1600s, information was scarce and that statement made sense – pure economic laws of supply and demand. However, we live in the digital information age, the age of the internet, the age of social media, the age of crowdsourcing … information is readily available for everyone who seeks it. If knowledge instantly translated into power, that means we are all superheroes (great and powerful). But we all know this is not the case … so what is the missing link? what is that missing step that transforms knowledge into power? ACTION!
It’s what you do with this acquired knowledge that defines your power. If you don’t convert that knowledge into action, it will remain a source of power – untapped power. It is worth noting at this point that the excuse of lack of knowledge is no longer justified; we can all tap into that same power pool!
So with all due respect to Sir Francis Bacon, the new maxim should read “Knowledge plus Action is Power”
The question you should be asking yourself is “how am I using my knowledge to gain power?” Think About It!