Socrates Was Wrong

Knowledge is power.

How many times have we heard this one? It is one of the battle cries of our society. It’s an idea so obvious, so undeniable that few ever give it a second thought. We don’t just seek knowledge; we worship it. Even Socrates, a wise man if there ever was one, said, “There is only one good, knowledge, and one evil, ignorance.”

If only it were that simple. The truth is, Socrates was wrong. Here’s why:

First, the pursuit of knowledge often becomes an end in itself. Too many people are living their lives as if they’re just “one secret” away from being able to take action. One secret, one book, one seminar, one whatever away from having the “knowledge” it’s going to take for them to succeed. Then, and only then, will they attempt to do the things they wish to do with their lives. Of course, they never quite achieve the state of knowledge they’re seeking. Why? Because it doesn’t exist.

…this absurd notion that ignorance is “evil” and therefore must be – or even can be – eliminated serves no one but the peddlers of magic wisdom.

In his book, If You Meet the Buddha on the Road, Kill Him, Sheldon Kopp points out that, “All important decisions must be made on the basis of insufficient data.”

Notice he said all important decisions, not some, many or even most. All of them. And if we take this reasoning a step further we can easily infer that all endeavors we may take must be made in the same way – on the basis of insufficient data. In other words, no matter how much we study, prepare or practice, some degree of ignorance is unavoidable and accepting this is what separates those who overcome their ignorance from those who are eaten up by it.

Sure, knowledge can be advantageous, but this absurd notion that ignorance is “evil” and therefore must be – or even can be – eliminated serves no one but the peddlers of magic wisdom.

Second, knowledge can actually destroy your power. Yes, destroy it. Here’s how: