Thursday, February 3, 2011

Knowledge is Power

I'm often asked "how do you know so much?" My answer is simple; I read. Whether it's required reading for work or me just trying to keep up to speed and make sense of the latest in politics, economics or sports. For the most part, none of what I read is for "leisure." Rather, I'm always reading current events, and other non-fiction material which will allow me to formulate educated opinions and keep me in touch with reality.

I can't say that I always enjoy reading, because more than anything, what I enjoy most is simply knowing more than the person next to me. Truth be told, I have a peculiar sense of satisfaction in knowing about the world around me because I like to feel like I'm "in the know!" From my daily paper, my weekly magazine subscriptions, my kindle or library collection I am always learning (I've been out of school for a month now). In fact, even when I'm not reading, I'm listening. My radio is always tuned to NPR.

In my library I have a collection of books that I am truly proud of. And even though my fiance disapproves, I keep them in our house as a badge of honor, a reminder of the information that I have retained throughout the years and a sense of security that this information is within reach.

At the end of the college semester when my classmates were in line trying to get 30% returns on their books from the bookstore, I was holding onto mine because I never knew when I might need a textbook on Ancient Greece or Human Biology. It might sound vain that I brag about being well read, but in a world where I am surrounded by people who are not, I am extraordinary. I am constantly baffled at how millions of people can go through their lives being so ill informed when information is literally at our finger tips. Instead of reading, people speculate, spread a web of misinformation that is then acted upon by equally ignorant people who take what's told to them as truth.

As I mentioned, I shouldn't be unique. The fact that I read a lot actual has very little bearing on my intelligence. All of my subscriptions are even available online for free! This is why I am so appalled at policymakers like Michelle Bachmann and Sarah Palin who go on air to talk about history and issues and it's abundantly clear that neither of them have a clue about what they're talking about. To someone who HAS read the Constitution and knows about our history, hearing these two clowns talk is insulting. I believe in the power of the 1st Amendment and the freedom of speech. But that doesn't mean that you need to be heard.

We all grew up with the notion that knowledge = power. Through my job I have found that no other maxim could hold more true. Each day I continue to read and learn more about my surroundings. I hope I'm wrong about everyone else. I hope I come to find out one day that they too care about what happens in their communities, country and world. For now, I'll settle for those who are just reading this blog. If you're reading this, then maybe I'm wrong afterall.

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