Knowledge is power

The greater our knowledge, the greater our influence on others.

The phrase implies that with knowledge or education one’s potential or abilities in life will certainly increase. Having and sharing knowledge is widely recognised as the basis for improving one’s reputation and influence, thus power. This phrase may also be used as a justification for a reluctance to share information when a person believes that withholding knowledge can deliver to that person some form of advantage. Another possible meaning for this phrase can be found in philosophical idealism – if the world exists solely as the content of consciousness, then knowledge itself can be used to directly manipulate the content of reality.

The famous phrase scientia potentia est is a Latin maxim meaning “knowledge is power”. It is commonly attributed to Sir Francis Bacon; however, there is no known occurrence of this precise phrase in Bacon’s English or Latin writings. The closest expression in Bacon’s works is in Rationality and Power: Democracy in Practice where he says: “Human knowledge and human power meet in one; for where the cause is not known the effect cannot be produced. Nature to be commanded must be obeyed; and that which in contemplation is as the cause is in operation as the rule.”