One of the greatest desires amongst the human species is knowledge. We are naturally inquisitive and curious; however, this desire is deeper than simply wanting to know about something. Knowledge is a thirst that can never be quenched and this places us in an eternal pursuit of answers. The adage, “Knowledge is power,” is commonly used to define this desire, and in many senses it proves to be correct. It explains that people want to learn so that they can have power over others, but power is only a potential result of obtaining knowledge. What happens in between obtaining knowledge and obtaining power is the most critical element to accessing the full potential of knowledge to an individual.
Say, a sixth grade student was selected to study law as a social experiment of children with high IQs, and became fluent in legal terminology and the contents of philosophy and psychology. While this student may have knowledge of a subject that less than 10 percent of the American population may possess, he has no more power over anyone than his peer that takes remedial courses. (However, he may have the upper hand when it comes to conning teachers out of homework assignments.) So then what good is the knowledge the student obtained? (Other than to aid in mischief) The answer is within effect that the knowledge has on the student. What makes that student different is that he knows something that most children his age do not. In turn, this realization will begin to give him confidence—at this level of maturation, it may even be interpreted as arrogance, but confidence, nonetheless. The student now feels empowered, and this is the force that propels knowledge to become something greater.
When a person is empowered, he is immediately presented with the opportunity to take action. That person has now become familiar with something that someone else does not know, and options on how to use the newly discovered information begins to surface consequently. One of the avenues which the person can take is strictly towards obtaining power. This gives him an advantage over those ignorant to the knowledge he possess and inevitably some form of authority. Unfortunately, the issue with this choice lies within the fact that power is facilitated by its exclusiveness. This means that the information remains with that person and becomes stagnant. If the knowledge is not continually developing and being distributed then it eventually becomes obsolete and loses its value. However, that person has the potential to share and cultivate his knowledge so that it evolves and its use expands beyond its original intent.
This idea is something that must be implemented within our minds as young adults. Are we learning simply to horde all of the knowledge we gain to ourselves? Are we absorbing all of this knowledge only to gain an advantage or authority over others? If that is the case then knowledge is no more than a harmful parasite. Yes, we are obtaining knowledge to be successful, but is success merely an exclusive measure of control? Or is it the confide ce that what you know can be transformed, developed and shared to empower the lives of others. So is it is not what you know. It is not who you know. It is about how you allow what you know to influence your decisions.