Knowledge is Power
Meaning: Knowledge is Power. Knowledge empowers us to take informed decisions. It gives us more control over future events. Generally we think that power belongs to the strong. If two wrestlers fight, we think that the stronger will win; in a battle the country with the larger army expects that it will be victorious.
But a little reflection will make it clear that Knowledge is more important than power or physical strength. Strength does play a part, but it is of no weight when pitted against knowledge. When we know the secrets of a thing, we can exercise control over it because we know the way in which it can be moved. Strength without knowledge is blind. A blind giant cannot cope with a man who has sharp eyes.
Knowledge of secrets in warfare: In warfare, the side with a strong army has its advantages no doubt, but it will prove ineffective against a leader equipped with better knowledge of the secrets of warfare. Take Alexander, for example. He defeated vast armies with only a band of Greek soldiers who had to fight away from their homeland. We say that this was due to Alexander’s genius or his generalship. But what was this genius or generalship? It lay in swiftness of movement, strength of will and some other virtues. But Alexander’s principal virtue was knowledge of his own men, knowledge of the country of his enemy and his strength, knowledge of the tactics and strategy of warfare. This is the ultimate secret of success in all warfare. Other factors play their part, but knowledge is supreme.
Scientific invention of new weapons: Scientific inventions, including warfare materials, are the results of man’s quest for knowledge. The fortunes of battles have in all ages been determined by the part played by new weapons. When gunpowder was invented, it made short work of armies fighting with swords and spears. The last Great War was brought to a close by the dropping of atom bombs. The history of modern warfare is to a large extent the history of new weapons – from gunpowder to the atom bomb – and these inventions are only indications of man’s knowledge of the secrets of destruction.
Knowledge of various forces of nature: How knowledge leads to power is best seen in man’s increasing control of the forces of nature. In primitive times man had no knowledge of nature and thought that the trees and the hills inhabited by spirits and fairies. He believed in ghosts and gods and was himself inert and powerless. But now man knows many of the mysteries of nature, and his knowledge is reflected in his daily growing power over natural forces. Man has invented electricity and he now floats over oceans and flies in the air. Man no longer looks with wonder and fear at a waterfall; he now dams it and converts the water-power to energy that irrigates his fields and runs his mills and factories.
Medical Science: Another valuable contribution which man’s knowledge has made to his power is found in the science of medicine. In ancient times people thought that diseases were due to the malign influence of spirits and stars, and they would go to magicians or try to appease the gods. But now-a-days man tries to find the causes of diseases inside the body and to trace them to purely material factors. This knowledge of the causes of diseases and also the properties of things has led to wonderful advances in the science of medicine. Man has not yet been able to control all diseases, but he has conquered many of them and has added to his length of life. This is possibly the most beneficent aspect of man’s knowledge.
Agriculture and cattle rearing: The increase in power through the acquisition of knowledge is seen in every branch of human activity. Man no longer cultivates fields in a blind manner. His science is giving him knowledge of the properties of soil, and this enables him to produce increased quantities of food and other things. He studies even the ways of animals and learn to control them better than his forefathers. Whether it is the small insects eating up his crops or the wild beasts in the jungles, man is acquiring knowledge of animals and is learning to protect himself against them. Man is now the ruler of the kingdom of nature and the kingdom of animals, because he has acquired knowledge of them.
Knowledge of psychology: Man’s most recent achievement is the increasing power he has established over himself through knowledge. This knowledge is being given to him by the science of psychology which analyses emotions, impulses, reasoning and even dreams. This science goes beyond consciousness into the region of the unconscious. This enables man to control his impulses and organize his mental powers. Insanity was originally supposed to be beyond man’s control and attributed to the gods. But psychology has shown that insanity is connected with repression of impulses, and if we can reveal the secret of this repression, the cause of insanity will be removed and the patient will become normal.
Conclusion: This is, in a sense, the most wonderful of man’s discoveries, and it will, in future, not only make man more powerful but also a better and more rational creature.