When Knowledge isn’t Power

Fact or Fiction?

It’s often said that knowledge is power.

But what if that knowledge is actually misinformation? What if it’s not knowledge but rather some kind of erroneous theory or concept being peddled as fact? Or what if it’s a blatant lie?

Once upon a time, we all knew that the earth was flat. It was common knowledge. We also knew that it was physically impossible for a human to run a sub four-minute mile; the scientists had done the research. Until the advent of the microscope (and the subsequent discovery of micro-organisms), the world’s scientific community ‘knew’ that life could be spontaneously generated from inanimate (non-living) matter. Which is how they explained maggots being ‘created’ from rotting meat.

I feel queasy.

So, with these mildly-interesting examples in mind, is there any chance that some of your current knowledge might one day prove to be something else?

Knowledge Isn’t Power When…

  • You ‘know’ you’re an idiot because your grade five teacher told you so. Thirty years ago.
  • Your very educated trainer ‘teaches’ you that you need fat-burning drugs to reach your potential. Especially the ones he can supply to you at a discounted rate; because he cares.
  • You’ve ‘learned’ that you’re going to hell because you’re not attracted to the ‘right’ sex.
  • Your ‘teacher’ has a vested interest in manipulating your beliefs. As if that would happen.
  • You ‘know’ you’re not artistic because your mum said.
  • You ‘know’ all men are dirtbags because one broke your heart.
  • You ‘know’ carbs are bad. Especially after three.
  • A chart in a book tells you how many calories you will need tomorrow.
  • You ‘know’ how to get lean because the dude on the infomercial told you (and he was really lean).

Discover your own truth. Think for yourself. Learn to unlearn. Ask questions. Be curious. Trust slowly. Things are not always as they seem and sometimes, ‘fact’ is fiction. :)

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{ 19 comments… read them below or add one }

Diana October 9, 2012 at 2:12 pm

No Carbs after 3….do we turn into gremlins if we do? If I DON’T eat carbs I DO turn into a gremlin! All in moderation of course Mr Harper!


Anonymous October 9, 2012 at 2:55 pm

My mum said I was a devil. (Seriously!)

You & me both.


Suu October 9, 2012 at 6:24 pm

The world isn’t flat???
I get the drift though. I reckon if we make up our own minds on what to believe and disbelieve then we’re doing ok.
It’s only a matter of opinion. In my opinion LOL



Nikki October 9, 2012 at 6:50 pm

Aggh! The carbs thing! Different things work for different people. I am sick of poor carbs getting a bad wrap. It’s not carbs that make us fat. It’s how much, what we put on it and all the other in between unhealthyprocessed snacking we shovel into our mouths, oh and add to that the amount of time we spend sitting on our butts.


michael mancini October 9, 2012 at 11:18 pm

yes i agree nikki! White bread is fine so is pasta and rice my fabulous dietician says just that, smaller manageable changes are more maintainable ova long term weight maintenance


Anonymous October 9, 2012 at 7:42 pm

Knowledge is such a misused term. Real knowledge from a reputable source can be invaluable but information from an unreliable source can be a disaster. The real problem appears to be that many people cannot identify the reliable sources. accurately.
Common knowledge is about as reliable as a wolf watching sheep.
Being told something is certainly not knowledge – an opinion maybe but not fact, unless the source is educated and reliable in that particular area of information.
There are certain things that I know to be true, some things that I suspect are true and heaps of stuff that I know to be complete fallicy.
It concerns me that in this “information age” the ability to think clearly and apply reason are being gradually lost. Increasingly people just believe what they want to believe.
That said do you have contact details for the trainers with the fat burning pills? LOL


Dragon October 9, 2012 at 8:10 pm

Started reading the 7 habits book again and just like your good self it reminds us to consider whether we are choosing based on emotion or our foundation values and are they aligned.

Further to Craig’s closing request I challenge all you people to look at your learning paradigm (ie. as it relates to knowledge) cognisant of all the environmental factors that have brought you to this point and consider if your paradigm is still relevant to you and your values.

Relevant >>
Adjective: Closely connected or appropriate to the matter at hand.
Synonyms: pertinent – appropriate


mulan October 9, 2012 at 11:08 pm

yeah according 2 some psycho babbling twit, i have an ‘attachment disorder’ rofpml and according 2 this source meeting ‘a man’ ie having significant other will heal my childhood trauma blah blah.. What an enormous burden 4 a person to bear lol yes some fact is fiction mr craig u do have a way with words dude! who magazine says ‘fact is always more intresting than fiction’ :)


Angela October 10, 2012 at 4:46 am

H Craig,

I love the light-hardheartedness of this serious message! Totally true. We must take responsibility for ourselves! I love your writing style! :) Great little post!


Kelly October 10, 2012 at 7:53 am

Love the last paragraph ‘Discover your own truth’ etc. Great stuff. Thanks Craig.


Leah October 10, 2012 at 8:55 am

I really liked the “When Knowledge isn’t Power” post. I’ve spent quite some time over the last year or so questioning my own beliefs, and found many of them to be totally invalid. Most of them were acquired during my childhood, and accepted without question. How odd that we adopt them without question – I suppose they sink deep into the unconscious and are rarely, if ever, brought out and looked at with any kind of enquiry. It’s been like a real therapy for me, and cost me no more than my own mind, truly using itself. It has set me free from some uncomfortable feelings, and allowed me to question all that I have held true. Extremely liberating, and I’m still working on it.
Thank you for this great site, I thoroughly enjoy it.
Best wishes.
Leah from Australia.


Ann-Marie October 10, 2012 at 11:18 am

This made me laugh especially :

• You ‘know’ how to get lean because the dude on the infomercial told you (and he was really lean).


Dag October 10, 2012 at 12:12 pm

Great Stuff Harps

“Discover your own truth. Think for yourself. Learn to unlearn. Ask questions. Be curious.”

Probably enough said right there.

Knowledge isn’t power when it comes from a dim-wit with his hand grabbing your money!



Trolley Wife October 10, 2012 at 12:37 pm

Another good post. I can say my knowledge about fitness and health some years ago was around the “more is better” philosophy with excercise. Endurance is better/healthy etc. Eat lots of brown pasta, bread, steamed rice. NIL FAT was another big one. That was based on pretty reliable sources at that time.
Now I find that I now tend to be outcome driven, so I will really monitor my health regimes now. I think about things like is FIT necessarily always healthy ( I am thinking of many of my 25 year long tri athlete and marathon friends who are suffering now – the ones that still do it every single year).

I think we are lucky some great research is going on, and some of is amazing. I more or less like an 80% paleo approach, but I add in legumes and dark breads and rice in moderatrion as am not totally convinced withsome of the theory. My outcome, though – since wiping out most processed food, is that I feel better. Less gym sessions, I am stronger, my body is in better shape. Less aches and pains.


JP October 10, 2012 at 1:31 pm

And i think I know it all!!! Bullshit, after being on the same damm merry-go-round for many years and coming up with the same results proves that the coonfidence I had in myself as being an all seeing, wise man turns out to be crap. I am now scared to eat carbs, paleo kills my energy, fat is good, why am I zapped at post lunch? Dont know what to do. Craig you are dead set right I indeed need to get off my high horse and admit I know squat. Thing is there are heaps of people out there who reckon they know it all (at a price) but do they?


Anonymous October 10, 2012 at 4:39 pm

JP most people know a little and very few know a lot.
In the paleolithic period average life expectancy was 33 years at birth and 54 years if you made it to age 15.
If a paleo diet prevents hypertension, diabetes etc maybe it is because you dont live long enough to develop these diseases?
Your brain needs carbs to work efficiently. Essential fat soluable vitamins are only found in fat.
If you eat right you feel good if you dont you wont. You will work it out :)


Trolley Wife October 11, 2012 at 12:49 pm

Like like like


Craig October 10, 2012 at 3:06 pm

Thanks Everyone, glad it resonated… :)


Brian Madigan October 11, 2012 at 7:58 am

Great post Craig. In our (mis)information age is has become critically important to learn to evaluate things for ourselves and make our own, informed, decisions.


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