It has been said that knowledge is power. Sometimes it is. Knowledge gives people options, changes perspectives. Knowledge teaches us how to process new experiences and adapt accordingly. Knowledge can be enlightening, giving us opportunities to grow in our thinking.
But there are times when I wonder if knowledge really is power or if it can sometimes be the fuel for our pain, our worry, our fear and our doubt. I wonder sometimes if knowledge actually creates problems rather than solves them. Perhaps there is something to be said for living in happy oblivion.
I think it was Ralph Waldo Emerson who said, “Knowledge is knowing that we cannot know.” I think nothing better can be said about knowledge.
Even when we are given information, we cannot always know what will come of it. This is weighing heavily on my mind right now in light of recent news about my puppy’s serious life threatening health condition but it really can be applied to so much of the information we receive.
Here are some examples.
We were given the knowledge that our happy puppy has a serious health condition that could shorten her life, that could even end her life in sudden death. We were also given the news that putting her on beta blockers could slow her heart rate enough to allow her to live a normal life.
So we were given a lot of data about her condition but we still don’t really know anything. Yes, the argument can be made that if we hadn’t known what we know now, and she died suddenly, we would have wondered if there was anything we could have done for her but, all in all, we are left mostly with uncertainty and more uncertainty brings more worry. More practice with learning acceptance.
When my mother died suddenly of a brain aneurysm, I didn’t feel an overwhelming need for more information even though a decision was made to conduct an autopsy. Having the diagnosis of her death confirmed, did not change the fact that she died and knowing didn’t bring her back. I suppose from a genetic standpoint, the information is important but knowing really didn’t change anything for me. It brought me no comfort.
Someone I love dearly was told recently that he has a brain tumor. It’s not cancer and it’s not in an operable location. The doctors don’t really know if or when the tumor might grow or if or when it does what damage it could cause. He now lives his life knowing he is a walking time bomb.
I think there are probably times when knowing is better. Knowledge helps ease worry and concern but this only happens when the news brought from that information is positive. When the news is not positive or when it does nothing to change the end result, it leaves a person in a state of confusion, sorrow, regret, denial or dread. And, how is being left feeling this way really giving someone power?
So, is knowing always better? Maybe it is. Maybe bad news, helps us make better choices. I’m not always sure though especially when there is nothing that can actually be done as a result of what is learned. It is certainly something to think about.
It was Khalil Gibran who said, “Faith is knowledge within the heart, beyond the reach of proof.”
I like this quote because faith, no matter how you come to it or what it means to you, is what pulls us through the darkest of times. And it is faith that helps us find light again when the news is not good and when knowing doesn’t feel like the better thing.