“Knowledge itself is power” is the statement attributed to Sir Francis Bacon in the late 1500s. It’s the statement from which we take the quote, “Knowledge is power.” It is a statement that has been repeated more times than one could possibly count. And there may be some truth to it.
Once a statement is declared truth, however, unless the statement is qualified, it should remain true through all circumstances. The sun rises in the east and sets in the west. Night follows day, which follows night. Death will never precede conception. These are unerring truths that will not be refuted.
Does all knowledge equate to power? Not necessarily. Knowledge, which can also be referred to information, facts, data, awareness, understanding or comprehension, doesn’t always result in action. The opportunity to take action is present when we have gathered information, facts, data, etc., but all we have at that time is potential. In science, I recall it be labeled stored power – similar to what we have in our homes, transferred to us through the power lines from our utility companies. The power is present but until we flip the switch, or activate it, we receive no benefit from it. This is true of knowledge.
Wisdom, I have been told, is the application of knowledge. It is taking action with all the information gathered. But not just taking action, but taking the right action. In Wisdom Clues – Social Wisdom for an Unsocial World, I defined wisdom as looking at the current situation through the eyes of previous experiences and immutable truths (God’s Word), considering possible outcomes or consequences and the impact on others and yourself, then making the decision that is most closely consistent with what is right.
Often, the biggest gap to overcome is the KNOWING-DOING gap. Too often we fail to act on that which we know to do. Most can recall a time when we did not follow up on something that needed to be done when it needed to be done. We knew what should be done but, regardless of the reason, we failed to act. Opportunities abound. Those who seize them are the individuals who have reduced the space between that which they know and that which they do.
In life, there is a need for those who are thinkers and those who are doers. I am convinced that this journey is enjoyed to a much greater extent when we employ both. Wisdom, knowledge united with action, is power!
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