More than a measurement of the size of the army, phallus, electrical output, political status, or some combination thereof: power is a hard-to-define but definitely still there thing that we’ve obsessed about since humans first got together. Problem is, pinning down exactly what power is darn near impossible.
First it was whoever had the biggest stick, then it was whoever had the most armies, then technology, then knowledge. As any avid Schoolhouse Rock fan would tell you, “KNOWLEDGE IS POWER!”
Well, Schoolhouse Rock, I don’t wanna say you’re wrong. But you’re wrong. Rather, you’ve got a slight definitional (hey, new word!) problem.
Knowledge isn’t necessarily power. Knowing where to find it is.
That can mean knowing who knows or knowing what to type into Google. It might even mean foregoing Google (GASP!) and sifting through papers or other websites to find information. Learn to do it fast enough, and it’s possible to do it before others realize you looked something up. Better yet, start developing a list of reputable sources for information. When I started, I wanted:
- A local news source (WRAL, WCNC)
- A national news source (CNN, The New York Times; avoiding MSNBC and Fox News for their hardcore biases)
- A multinational news source (AP, Al Jazeera, BBC News)
- Other sources for your interests (Gizmodo, The Wall Street Journal, the CATO Institute, I F^cking Love Science, the US State Department, Sports Teams)
- Blogs (Why Mondays Are Cool ;), The Art of Nonconformity)
- Something humorous (Comedy Central, @OMGThatsPunny)
I built my own. I followed them on Twitter and Facebook. Checked their websites. Eventually I was able to know what site I wanted for what piece of information. It takes some time, and it’s important to be aware that all sources have some kind of bias. Still, knowing where rather than what can make a huge difference in life.