knowledge vs information
Sometimes, I wonder upon this thing we call knowledge. It seems almost as if the more we know, the more puffed up we become of how much we know.
I don't understand how knowing more things can make one feels bigger. In fact, awareness, knowledge, education... often make me feel really, really small and tiny.
The more I know about history - from the establishment of Daulah Islamiyah to the raise up of the Khilafah and finally to the fall of it because of man's interest in worldly matters, from an ancient Rome to their bloody arenas (oops, pardon my language), from the Khmer Rouge to the Nazi regimes (okay, I don't know much about this),
the more I know about things going on around the world today - from Palestinians issue to the political conflicts in our country, from Haiti to Darfur, from serial killers to fathers who rape their daughters and imprison their children in dark basement,
the more I know hard, cold facts about the environment - from the global warming to the way most city folks consume way more than their fair share of earth's resources while a bigger portion of the world starves,
the more it makes me feel incredibly small and tiny. What good is our knowledge if we cannot prevent such horrors from happening?
It has been said that the most important day for a modern man was the day they discovered fire. But, I think the most defining day was the day mankind was given the weapon of knowledge.
I read this article few days back, and the writer said:
"Where before, (knowledge) was free for all to pick, to share. However, it had now become something to be hoarded, to be branded, to be bartered."
The reason I say that the most defining day for mankind was the day they received knowledge is because, that day, man received a tool more potent than any form of physical weaponry. Knowledge, a potential force for good when it is in the right hands, is also an equally potential force for evil when it is in the wrong ones.
With knowledge, people realized that they could manipulate, control, defeat and intimidate. And so knowledge become something to be hoarded for protection, and ultimately, power.
History has shown us, and newspapers continue to show us, that the tendency of human nature when faced with powerful knowledge is to abuse it. Yet occasionally, we hear the story of knowledge being used in the face of unimaginable devastation to bring hope and healing.
What makes the difference? Could it be that, there needs to be something tempering the power of knowledge? Something that the absence of results in knowledge spiralling destructively out of control?
In giving us knowledge, Allah also gave us rules - rules which, if followed, would keep knowledge from becoming destructive force.
I was reading a review of a movie, Wolfman (I haven't watched it, neither that am I recommending that you should), when a particular quote from the main character caught my eyes. In the movie, Sir John, the Wolfman keeps his werewolf side locked up for ages before finally deciding to 'let it free' - destroying the lives of his family and friends. He says:
"Rules. They're all that keep us from dog-eat-dog society, you know?"
The reviewer writes:
"Though segments of society sometimes tells us that rules are bad, that they are fetters that keeping us from our 'true potential', most of us know that our 'potential' looks much like Sir John's... We've all got a bit of werewolf inside us. Sometimes, we need to be strapped into a metaphorical chair until the metaphorical moon wanes again. That's the way it is. Not one of us is fully trustworthy to tame his own inclinations."
The more I think about it, the more it makes sense. Knowledge without guidance, in human hands, has the potential to go very, very wrong. What is absolutely necessary is guidance and wisdom on how to use the knowledge.
May knowing more... drive us to seeking more Guidance from Allah.