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On Snatch someone asks Del Toro “Do you know something I don’t?” and he answers “I probably know a lot you don’t!” Such a demonstration of power, and still, such a subtle power!

Because i know something you don’t does not make me better than you, it certainly ain’t as good as having a cake you don’t, or a gun, it is nothing i can use or feel, and still, “I know a lot you don’t” is a scare. But why should it be?

If you know something i don’t, say you know where there is a hidden cake, then this is completely useless unless you act on your info, and exactly as you act you reveal your secret. You have to show me the hiding place to take the cake.

But knowing something you don’t is something more finesse than a secret.

A given knowledge is only good in as much as it can be transformed into power. Knowing the hiding place of the cake is only as good as the cake is sweet. And two pieces of knowledge are twice as powerful as one. And if you think like that, knowledge is just another gun, and a quirky gun at that. And knowledge IS a gun . And in this sense knowing something you don’t is just like being able to prevent you from ever touching that gun, it is a form of monopoly, and as other monopolies it can be managed and exploited in numerous ways. And if you manage to have enough monopolies, and you are a good driver, you can drive your oponents into needing your cake. You can be ruler over their world.

Thus, knowledge is power goes the old adage, older than dust, what they forget telling you, what they know that you don’t, is that you can do the same with a gun. Big enough a gun and you can even neglect the whole driving thing.

But that knowledge can be used as power, that it can be reduced to power, does not mean it is power, and there is a measure where knowledge is more than power, where knowledge makes power uninteresting, where knowledge out-finesses power. Indeed, the very idea of finesse is a way to talk about knowledge.

And our world is a world full of information, where is ways knowledge is every where, but it is also a world where the differences in knowledge also run very deep, so deep indeed it is difficult to see how powerful and how powerless it is. Some know reams more than you do. Some know the hiding of whole cake factories. You could come to believe knowledge is power. But the amount of knowledge does not change the fact that it has to be translated, transformed into the cake you want to eat. Thus you don’t know how to use even the knowledge you have. That is why i ask: What difference does it make that i know something you don’t?

I could know the most delicious cake you’ll ever taste. I could know how to destroy you completely. Probably not. Really, it’s more likely i don’t know a single thing that could hurt you at all, i could know a bunch of things and still none of them of any use, all completely uninteresting. Or i could know how to destroy you. You don’t know, do you?

Knowledge allows me to exploit the world just in as much as the world is exploitable. If there is no way i can do anything good in the place i am, no amount of knowledge could change that. But you can never measure exactly how hopeless something is until you tried all options. And here lies the trap: Knowledge can show you options you didn’t know existed.

You can’t fight power with power, because knowledge makes a different game. Knowledge does not beat power, but, sometimes, knowledge can make power meaningless. This is hard to do. You have to know things you don’t. And after you know those things you have to learn to yeld knowledge as a gun.

Knowledge can show you how the yoke that holds you down can be opened.

Knowledge can show you that the cake is a lie.

Of course, it is not only the information you have, but how that information changes the world you live in, which depends on the differences in the levels of knowledge, that is, it depends on what i know that you don’t. And that is subtle. So subtle, indeed, that i could tell you all of it, and still, i still know something you don’t.

What is it?

Posted by Wordmobi


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