Thunker’s Weblog


Francis Bacon and Power
September 11, 2009, 10:08 pm
Filed under: religion | Tags:

I’ve been reading Bertrand Russell’s famous work, “History of Western Philosophy.”  There are all kinds of tidbits that provoke introspection.  One of these was Francis Bacon’s famous phrase, “Knowledge is Power.”  Some have taken that maxim and applied Machiavellian tones to it.  Followers of this interpretation carry the certainty that the more data that is at their command gives them command over their lesser learned fellows.  It drives them in the belief that better jobs, better remuneration and best of all, more power over others awaits.  Knowledge of one’s neighbors, co-workers and superiors, with their various vices and pitfalls,  can be used to leverage position, status and standing.

I would like to change the maxim as I find that the phrase, “Knowledge is Power,” not quite adequate or true.  A truer statement would be, “Actions Infused with Knowledge bring Power.”  This new phrase does not deny the Machiavellian followers their pursuits and uses of knowledge.  It also allows for other interpretations with greater clarity.  The great truth in the original phrase lies not with its equation-like balance.  In its present form it could be algebraically represented as Knowledge = Power, the two themes receiving synonymous definition and footing.  A more accurate portrayal of the meaning of the phrase could be represented mathamatically as:

Knowledge+Intent=Power

It is the addition of an individual’s intent coupled with acquired knowledge that brings the Power and allows for additional interpretations.    If an individual brings good intentions or the will to use knowledge to benefit others, it changes the entire spectrum of possible outcomes from the use of knowledge.    Thus, intent is the real fulcrum between Knowledge and Power bringing the real force of the phrase into being.

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