Knowledge is Not Power

Author: Brennan E. Wells;

I was once told that knowledge is power. This was repeated to me again and again without end. This was told to me so much so as I matured, that I found it futile to question the logic. I presume that you as well have heard this saying or one of its variations, such as information is power, the more you know, the more you grow, or the basic, “stay in school”. At its core the premise of acquiring knowledge for self-improvement and similar aims is admirable and noteworthy, however, the extent in which we glamorize knowledge for the sake of knowledge is sickening. I encourage you and those within your circle of family, friends, and brethren to cease speaking on this pseudo maxim.

The great aim of education is not knowledge but action.” – Herbert Spencer

Along with the pseudo mantra of “knowledge is power” is also the false claim of “stay woke”. The connotation of woke can be understood to mean, that one should be aware and conscious of their society. The claim of stay “woke” is false, because it merely perpetuates the gluttony of gathering and hoarding of knowledge with no purpose. To know necessitates that you, the individual who has gained this new knowledge, do something with that information.


Plato’s Cave comes in many forms and I admit, that I too thought that simply knowing was enough. But I have escaped Plato’s Cave and now, looking around at that state of Black America clear-eyed and sober I cannot help but mourn, because of the mass amounts of inaction among Black America. Yes, there are those who are doing wonderful works, like Joy Ann-Reid, Van Jones, Tamika Mallory, Dante Barry, Elaine Welteroth, Yaa Gyasi, Damon Young, and others who escape my purview. But I am of the belief that it will take a super majority of Black America’s citizens to take up arms and break the chains of food insecurity, financial ruin, student loan capitalism, educational poverty, mental health disparities, police slayings, cultural destitution, environmental injustice, human trafficking, climate change, gentrification, equity in education funding, abdication of the full effects of the Voting Rights Act, voter ID laws, financial illiteracy, the rampant mining of The Motherland for her resources, lack of mentorship to Black youth, the ills of the American criminal justice system, and self appointed non-whites who “speak” for Black America.

The common phrase is that we have come so far, yet have so far left to go. I reject that saying and in place of it, say we have so far left to go. Make this Black History Month more than natural hair, black fists raised in the air (because now it is acceptable in February), and thanking the Obama’s for eight years (despite their lack of attention to Black America). If we are what we say we are, a mighty race of people who have over come so much, then undergird that truth with action. Knowledge is nothing by itself, only when paired with action is knowledge power. Be woke and stirred in your soul to do something.


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