Wednesday, November 23, 2005

The Weight of Knowledge

When I was really young (about 7 or 8) I made a conscious decision to know, no matter how painful or heavy knowledge is.

I believed then, and I still believe now that knowledge is power. And to know or understand something, one is made custodian and bears the burden of that knowledge. One is then responsible for its dissemination and use.

Say for example, when I was in university, the hard copy of this these rantings included a section on ideal date ideas, and there were loads of contribution from both genders. Truth be told, I didn't show it to everyone. I was hugely selective on who I gave the information to. I chose only those people that I thought needed that knowledge or would put it to good use.

There is a part of me that's hugely interested in booze (but you all already know that). And as a result of that knowledge I can probably get folks drunk without them even knowing they're well on the road to get wasted. This knowledge I used to guard like a Ah Pek does his winning 4D slip.

Why? Because in the wrong hands, this knowledge is dangerous. If there come a time where the person I give the info to abuses it, I cannot be blameless. It's like handing a loaded gun to a kid, a beer bottle to a drunk, or letting a 12 year old behind the car. Knowledge in the hands of someone who do not know how to use it, or abuses it, is either wasted, or potentially disasterous.

Then again, how does one know if a person is suitable till he IS given that knowledge? Ahhh.... The confusion and the paradox.

No wonder Einstein lost so much hair. From what little I know of the great man, he encountered the same dilemma when he discovered atomic energy. The ability for man to hold so much power is at the same time, humbling, terrifying, exciting, and possibly, dangerously intoxicating and addictive.

I'm going to borrow the Parafaith Wars again by LE Modesitt Jr. There is a paragraph inside that I want to write on this subject. When I find it, I'll write it here. In the mean time, here's what I wrote the last time.

ADDED - 17 Feb 2006
An elaboration of the burden of knowledge.

As time goes by, the more knowledge you possess, the more selective you are at sharing. Many other considerations come to mind even before one shares. One starts to realize that it is not a good idea to share everything one knows.

Some people are not receptive, some are not ready, some end up rejecting both the knowledge, and the person that attempts to share. There might even be some that would take the knowledge in a way by which it was not intended, and we end up hurting them or people around them with this same knowledge.

For me, I try to keep an open mind about most things. I agree to disagree. In a good argument/discussion, one can clarify one's own point of view, as well as begin to understand where the other person is coming from. Or in some rare occasions, might even provide enough food for thought to get the other party to start agreeing with you. Or Vice Versa.

As custodians, we constantly face with a decision whether to share the knowledge we hold. We constantly have to ask ourselves. To share, or not to share? What kind of consequences will there be, either way? At the end of the day, we are the judge, jury and executioner of our own verdict, and we have to live with our decision. Like it or not.

Perhaps ignorance is truly bliss. So my friend, if you have the knowledge, use it well. If you don't, be thankful you are not burdened by it. And if that honour and responsibility is thrust upon you, pray that you make the right choices, or pray that you can live with the consequences.

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