So the other day I had a conversation with a buddy of mine that really got me to thinking. We were talking about the importance of information in today’s society. What follows is the postulation that kept me up later that night.
It is said that knowledge is power. And some say that information is power. Well, I for one do not feel that knowledge or information are synonymous with each other. Information is knowledge with purpose. The building block of information is data. Pure, unadulterated data. When data is “translated” into something useful and has meaning and value, it becomes information. Information that has been further refined by a user’s experiences, observations, and opinions, it becomes knowledge. This is what becomes powerful. Knowledge, when shared and applied, has the profound capability to influence changes in behavior and actions. Thus, knowledge is power.
But if knowledge is power, and power corrupts, does knowledge corrupt? The answer is yes. If you take a very basic and liberal interpretation of the word, then yes. Knowledge changes understanding. It alters ones reality in ways that break from our innocent interpretation of life and our surroundings.
So the final point to make then, can one say that with great knowledge comes great responsibility? It is my opinion that yes, it does. With knowledge comes power, and you gain a certain “dominance” over others who do not have that knowledge (thus the interpretation that power corrupts). It is the person who understands the power of information and the resulting knowledge that influences others in positive or negative ways. Therefore, it is the possessor of the knowledge who has the responsibility to shape the future. Truly a great responsibility.