Knowledge is Not Power

gray magnifying glass and eyeglasses on top of open book

It is a Key

Have you ever heard the phrase knowledge is power? Whether in a book, online, or overhearing someone say it, this has been said for centuries. Personally, I have heard this phrase many times, and every time I hear someone say it I cringe. Knowledge itself is not power.

However, if anyone would have told me “knowledge is not power”, a few years back, I would have argued until I was blue in the face that knowledge is power and possibly the only real power. You see, I am a seeker of knowledge and love to learn. How dare someone say such nonsense?!

If you are someone who firmly believes the phrase knowledge is power, please give me a chance to pique your mind, maybe I can help you see it in a new light, just as Napoleon Hill helped me. If not, that’s okay. I’m not here to attack personal views, but hopefully, to bring a new perspective.

Knowledge vs. Education

Let us take a look at the book, Think and Grow Rich by Napoleon Hill, a book I bought to help me expand my knowledge on finances, but instead impacted a whole new way of thinking. I highly recommend this book to anyone, no matter where they are in life.

It’s common to think of education when you hear the word knowledge. However, these two are not as similar as we perceive. In Napoleon’s book he states:

The real meaning of the word educate is derived from the word “Educo”, meaning to educe, draw out, to develop within.

An educated man is not, necessarily, one who has an abundance of generalized or specialized knowledge. An educated man is one who has so developed the faculties of his mind that he may acquire anything he wants, or its equivalent, without violating the rights of others.

Let’s take a dive into the world of education for a moment.

When we are learning in school we are constantly absorbing knowledge, but we are not taught how to implement it into our daily lives. If the statement above is true, going to school is not for an education but to be a vault of lessons from the school by the methods they believe are fit to function in society.

We are not being taught how to draw out more information or how to develop more knowledge from within by the things we are taught, nor how to use that knowledge to get to where we want to go in life, but instead, we are taught to memorize what is perceived to be right by society standards.

Let me ask you, are you truly doing what you want to do in life? Have you asked yourself? What if there was no need to pay bills or pay for food? What if there was no need to impress someone or to make a living? What would you be doing with your time?

Education is what remains after one has forgotten what one has learned in school.” “The only thing that interferes with my learning is my education.” -Albert Einstein

True education is taking what you have learned to develop your own method of surviving and getting what you want in life without violating the rights of others. Not cramming your head with specialized knowledge that is never really used other than what you have chosen as a profession.

True knowledge comes from experience. How can one truly know if they have never experienced what they have read, heard, or seen firsthand? They can try to think of how it may be due to their own perceptions, but that does not mean they know for a fact.

As you can see, education and knowledge are not one and the same at all. Just neighbors who carpool from time to time. Experience being the car and wisdom the destination.

A story of Henry Ford

For those who do not know who Henry Ford was, As stated by biography.com:

Henry Ford was an American automobile manufacturer who created the Model T in 1908 and went on to develop the assembly line mode of production, which revolutionized the automotive industry.

If you would like to read more about him there is a link to the website in the references at the bottom of this article.

Going back to the book Think and Grow Rich, Napoleon uses Henry Ford as the perfect example of why the education we receive is not as important as we are made to believe.

Henry Ford had very little schooling and was even called an ignorant pacifist in newspapers. When he went to court to press charges the courthouse rudely questioned him like he was on a trivia show, to prove he was uneducated. When Henry finally became irritated he responded:

“If I should really want to answer such foolish questions you have been asking me, let me remind you I have a row of electric push buttons on my desk, and by pushing the right button, I can summon to my aid any men who can answer any question I desire to ask concerning the business to which I am devoting most of my efforts.

Now, why would I clutter up my mind with general knowledge, for the purpose of being able to answer questions, when I have men around me who can supply me with any knowledge I require?”

As you can imagine, that made the court stop cold in its tracks. An educated person is someone who can obtain the knowledge he needs in an organized plan of action, not someone who has stuffed their heads with trivial material just to be able to answer something that is not of much importance.

Henry Ford had less than sixth-grade “schooling.” Well known, Thomas Edison had less than three months of “schooling.” However, both of these men were clearly not uneducated and added valuable resources that propelled us into the future as we know it today.

Henry was able to take what he knew and what he did not know to come up with a system to get the answers he wanted to know from people who did know the answers. He did not let his lack of knowledge hold him back, instead, he made a system that worked for him.

If knowledge is power, wouldn’t a lack of knowledge be deemed as powerless or unknowing?

Henry Ford taught us you do not have to have a “good” education nor have all the answers, that is if you use what you do know to draw out the information needed.

Knowledge is a key

With all that being said, it is very important to understand, that knowledge can be powerful. However, it cannot be of much use if it is not put into action with a definite plan.

Knowledge is only a key to unlocking the door to your wildest dreams. You have to turn the key to unlock the door and most importantly, you must step through the door if you want to obtain what is on the other side.

You can spend lifetimes in schools obtaining all the known knowledge in the world, but what use is it if you don’t apply it?

Think about it. You can store all the knowledge in the universe within your mind, but if you don’t act on the knowledge gained it will become just like an abandoned library. Only to be used when someone stumbles upon it.

You would be like the thinking man who always thinks but never moves in life. Wondering why you’re in the same place mentally, not understanding the missing link is taking action.

The way I see it

Action is the door, knowledge is the key, and on the other side is a journey perhaps to your destiny or with the wrong knowledge a world of horror, from which you can still learn from. Though that will be a topic for another day.

If you take a moment to pause and reflect, you’ll see it is the experiences in life that are the true power, but in order to experience something, you have to take action. The true power is doing, even with limited knowledge. This is how we expand our knowledge in the first place.

This is the reason I no longer believe in the phrase knowledge is power. I now believe knowledge is only potential power.

Thank you for taking the time out of your day to read this post. Hopefully, it was able to add some type of value or a new perception. ❤


References

Hill, N., 2019. Think And Grow Rich. New York: St. Martin’s Press.

Article Title

Henry Ford Biography

Author

Biography.com Editors

Website Name

The Biography.com

URL

https://www.biography.com/business-figure/henry-ford

Access Date

September 9, 2020

Publisher

A&E Television Networks

Last Updated

September 5, 2019

Original Published Date

April 2, 2014

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