There are two half-truths that I grew up believing. One comes from an early morning cartoon where the greatest heroes America ever knew could shoot a wire from 500 yards with a hand gun, but couldn’t hit a human being within five feet with any kind of weapon.
Somehow, they always won – probably because the bad guys were just as inept. The episode would always conclude with public service announcement that ended with one person saying, “Now I know,” to which the soldier would respond “And knowing is half the battle.” It never occurred to me to ask what the other half of the battle is.
The other half-truth that I learned is that “knowledge is power.” If knowledge really were power, the most revered people in the United States would not be sports stars or celebrities. If knowledge really were power, the climate change problem would have already been solved. If knowledge really were power, there would be no discrimination in the world. If knowledge really were power, the costs of college would never rise because every nation would want to continue to grow its power base.
To complete the truth, one word must be added to the phrase.
Knowledge is latent power. Until you apply the knowledge that you have, you have neither learned nor become more powerful. You have just gathered possible power and are now letting it fade away.
That means that the other half of the battle is actually applying what you know to make a difference in your life and in the life of others. You may know that the legislature is not going to fully fund higher education in 2014 and that the Board of Regents is going to raise tuition in its tier 1 for school year 2014-15, but until you do something about it, that knowledge is useless.
As journalists at the Globe, we strive to bring you the stories that matter. We hope that you will take what you learn in our pages, on our website and in classes and use that knowledge as the power to make everyone’s life a little easier.