Wednesday, 7 January 2015

Knowledge is Power

This post will be read by very few people. For knowledge is not researched. We have no instinctive or automated drive to search for knowledge. 

If you want to attract many readers, offer ‘panem et circenses’ – but do not talk about knowledge. With as result that knowledge is gold. 

To try to find it online, is as starting to dig for gold somewhere in the midst of a trillion hills. Hoping that someone has put a sign there: "Here's the gold the whole world is after" (*)

It's because of knowledge that today’s powerful are so powerful they are almost a different species

We wouldn’t even know who they are: a helicopter lands on the rooftop of a Manhattan bank: a satellite monitors the behavioural patterns of billions of people. We have no clue who is behind it. 

For the best way for an aristocracy to avoid a revolution, is to not be known. 

A search engine probably knows more about you than you. Your search pattern at age 16 can predict the potential of your voting or spending pattern at age 20. (Obviously no CEO is interested in you or me, but in the collective of tens of millions of you’s). 

Plato still thought a ‘6 to 1’ wage disparity to be fair – the owner of a company should earn 6 times as much as the worker.
In the 1920s the convention was ’21 to 1’.
Today we are at 500 and even 1000 to 1.

Of course, the earth's population has thousand folded. Thus the market. Thus the knowledge. Thus the wages. 

"Is that fair"? It's a question we can't answer with yes or no. 

If anyone studies for years, be it at University or online or as self-made man, he or she gathers knowledge in a specific domain, takes chances, postpones earnings. 

We could say that anyone can have the drive to search knowledge. Just as anyone can have the drive to spend life chatting and watching TV.
Those are choices, heavily influenced by background, parents, education, social environment, character, temperament and especially the people we surround ourselves with - but choices nevertheless. 

Some search knowledge for personal profit. Others search knowledge for the sake of humanity.
The economy also benefits from those who aim at personal profit, just as society can be damaged by those with an ideal. Humanity suffered as much from those who did not think of personal profit, as from those who did. 

So there is no answer. We would need to study the outcome of millions of people with thousands of levels of knowledge, to know whether the overall picture is a positive or negative one - fair or not fair. 

If knowledge is power, is non-knowledge slavery?

For sure
How to make a human addicted to a smartphone has been studied as much as to tobacco, drugs, sugar, entertainment... someone somewhere is making money out of that.  

Never forget though that there's no such thing as total freedom: there are only very many levels.

Also the trillionaire owning a satellite and being high above the 'mediocre millionaires' with their flying cars - is a slave of his cognitive biases, hormones, patterns, peer pressure, social and cultural determination. Neuro-scientists already long know that it's debatable whether or not we have a free will. 
You could even say: what's wrong with someone who has such a thirst for control? Isn't that a choleric temperament gone astray? Alpha-maleness gone coocoo?

And never forget that power is not equal to happiness. 
It can even be a detour. 
Anyone, anywhere, at any given moment, can take the distinct decision: 'I am going to be happy'. 

There are shortcuts to happiness. Dancing. Loving. Painting. Cooking. 
Neither power nor knowledge are the be-all and end-all. 

Personally, I happen to love digging for knowledge regarding marketing. It's one of my short cuts. I love the intense brooding and thinking of how to put a customer in the market, and am over the moon with my customers who share this drive. 

I don't think that everyone should be studying or gathering knowledge all the time. 
Just as I do not judge those who have this drive but thousand folded. I admire people who are thirsty for knowledge, regardless of the scale. 

Gathering knowledge and insights makes me happyI'm happy with personal success, and the success of customers. It's the happiness of an athlete who has just beaten others or won the game. 
The earnings are a side-effect. 


(*) Sure, there are such signs. 'On top of the search engines for 20 Euro'! Resulting in millions of people starting to dig in that spot, making it utterly useless. 

It's almost endearing how naive we become when we turn online. If someone on the street would stop you and say 'I can make double your business' you would think: dada. Online we have no problem forever throwing 20€ here and 60€ there. 

There's still a great disparity in the split second persuasion

I cannot offer much knowledge  either - at least not in comparison to what there is out there. I'm in my 12th year of digging. And by now I know that it truly is a question of rolling up the sleeves. 'There is no such thing as a free lunch'. 

Thank You Mark 

 Thank you, my favourite photographer in Brussels, Mark Timmermans, for your gorgeous photography. I think you are worth every penny and your reputation as a gem of a photographer.

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