It is said that “knowledge is power.” Humans have an incredible ability to obtain knowledge. However, two obstacles stand between an individual and the harnessing of that power. The first is access, and the second is retention.
As individuals we have the limitation of experience. We cannot know what we have not encountered. Our great grandparents could not “know” about a life aided (or controlled) by iPhones. Leonardo da Vinci, for all his genius, could not know what it is to experience flight. Even today, there are realms in which we as individuals cannot roam. When was the last time you saw a unicorn?
Even when we do experience something, we cannot always hold onto it. There is just too much “knowledge” out there. Arthur Conan Doyle put the expression of this idea into the mouth of Sherlock Holmes:
“I consider that a man’s brain originally is like a little empty attic, and you have to stock it with such furniture as you choose. A fool takes in all the lumber of every sort that he comes across, so that the knowledge which might be useful to him gets crowded out, or at best is jumbled up with a lot of other things, so that he has a difficulty in laying his hands upon it. . . . It is of the highest importance, therefore, not to have useless facts elbowing out the useful ones.”
Put simply – we cannot retain everything we learn.
However, these twin obstructions to our knowledge based power have a cure: reading.
If knowledge is power, then the manifestation of that power is words. Recording, and accessing the written word gives us an avenue to experience the knowledge of things we have not encountered for ourselves. We can through reading “meet” that illusive unicorn. Furthermore, we don’t need to clog the “attics” of our mind. We can store knowledge in a written form, and retrieve it selectively as and when we want it.
All of the power of the world. All of the knowledge of the generations can be yours when you read.