Yesterday, I came across a quote that should be shared and contemplated:
“Knowledge is power and it can command obedience. A man of knowledge during his lifetime can make people obey and follow him and he is praised and venerated after his death. Remember that knowledge is a ruler and wealth is its subject.”
–Imam Malik Ali-Ashtar
This pithy saying comes from Nahj Al-Balagha that is “The Peak of Eloquence”–a collection of sermons, narrations, letters, and interpretations of the Qur’an. This work is regarded as special to people of Shi’a Islam. The Imam, Malik Ali-Ashtar was a cousin and son-in-law of the Prophet Muhammad.
Through the years the Latin aphorism “Scientia potentia est”, “Knowledge is power” has been used by numerous scholars, teachers, and thinkers in various contexts. I think Ali-Ashtar’s commentary is the most concise statement on this idea. People, regardless of belief system, should think about this saying.
For much of humanity’s history, people of authority and power have used technology, knowledge, and science to rule over the common people. When citizens began educating themselves in knowledge and started using the scientific method to discern fact from fiction, civilization began its new phase of development. Science finally became a tool for peaceful purposes, not just a way to more destructive warfare.
The current trend of certain politicians and religionists to demonize science is one that should cause alarm. In discouraging the use of science and scientific knowledge, human well-being and democracy suffer. Why should just a select few of the elite have access to science?
There is no longer any excuse for everyday folks to be ignorant of scientific knowledge. The Internet is brimming with information to keep citizens informed of the developments of science and new technology. During the past several years, average people have accessed this knowledge to enhance their own ideas and develop new ways to benefit the world and mankind.
Anyone, even the most vulnerable of us, can use knowledge and Science to develop solutions to problems and find innovative ways to enhance life. Continued access to knowledge is important in our efforts to improve our collective future.
It’s important to strengthen public awareness about the role of science to enable sustainable, peaceful societies. By bringing awareness to everyone, we understand the need for shared information between nations. There needs to be a deliberate commitment for the use of science for the peaceful benefit of our world.
The future will undoubtedly present many new challenges for humanity. We need to support the increase of knowledge, wisdom, and skills provided by science and the scientific method to effectively improve our lives. It’s important to shrink the gap between Science and society. Everyone can take part regardless of whether we work in specialized professions, university settings, public schools, business, agriculture, the media, research and development and more.
The Blue Jay of Happiness quotes writer Robin Morgan. “Knowledge is power. Information is power. The secreting or hoarding of knowledge or information may be an act of tyranny camouflaged as humility.”