My Takes

It's Just My Take

When Knowledge Is Not Power

He knows but they don't. Do they know that he knows?

He knows but they don’t. Do they know that he knows?

One of my favorite phrases is this:

He who knows not and knows not he knows not: he is a fool-shun him.
He who knows not and knows he knows not: he is simple-teach him.
He who knows and knows not he knows: he is asleep-wake him.
He who knows and knows he knows: he is wise-follow him.

Very pregnant and meaningful words that can be applied to our everyday lives.  We all know someone who thinks they know more than they do.  Probably our bosses?  Or even us?  It is kind of harsh to call such a person, or you, a fool but let’s not mince words here.  If you go around acting like you know everything but really know little, you have to admit, that’s foolish right there.  Then there’s the silent type who offers little because they are  unsure of what they know.  He knows that he knows not.  Such a person makes a perfect scholar and as the phrase say, we should teach him.  He is simple.  That makes sense as we sometimes look at the quiet person as a simpleton.  As another saying goes, ‘It’s better to keep your mouth shut and appear stupid than to open it and remove all doubt.’  Unfortunately, many of us would rather chance it.

It is often said that knowledge is power but I think it should be ‘knowledge in use is power’.  You can’t be powerful if you are not using your knowledge, right?  It’s like the world’s strongest man lying in bed all day.  What use is his strength?  This is the HE who knows and knows not that he knows.  This person is asleep and needs an awakening.  He’s like a leader falling asleep.  He has to be awaken so he could lead those who don’t know where they are going.  Once he realizes that he knows, he becomes wise.

The bad news is that those who know and know that they know are usually vain, proud and self-righteous.  (Well so much for the above phrase).  They are worse than the fool who does not know he knows nothing.  Putting this all into context in regards to the real world, we can safely say that we have an over-abundance of fools, too many simple minds, a lot of sleepy heads and a short supply of wise men.

Confused?  Don’t worry too much about it. Just my take.



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4 thoughts on “When Knowledge Is Not Power

  1. Wow, such a thought-provoking phrase! Never heard it before. I really had to think hard about what category I fit into to. I’m the “He who knows and knows not he knows” – had a lot of knowledge and skills but didn’t have the confidence to use them or think I even could. Now that I’m awake, I’ve realized that I’m capable of teaching others through my coaching and workshops. Thanks for making my brain work!

  2. i think you need a fifth category; s/he who knows and knows s/he knows and continues to learn…

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