Knowledge is power
so in order to get this power we should learn how to accumulate
it, how to reproduce it, how to avoid being on the side of the
But what is it knowledge?
Where do we get it? Not everyone has it, what's more
everyone has access to it, there are people who do not even
know there is a "good" knowledge. It is "us",
the western middle-class educated white males, that posses it.
It is in our hands to decide if we share it or not, with whom
and in what amounts and qualities.
We can send in missionaries,
we can build schools and train teachers, we can teach them,
the non-western lower-class uneducated non-white masses, how
to live and what to believe in, we can share with them the ways
to salvation and paradise, we should be merciful and show some
compassion for those poor people who do not "know".
We can even grant them scholarships to come here to our first
world universities and learn from us, not only about science
and technology, but also about our culture and modern lifestyle,
so that later -if they have enough courage- they might go back
and become an example to their people.
Because knowledge is, of
course, to be found in books, in writings, in records
where else if not? Sitting next to the sea following its waves
and rhythm, listening to the wind
that is unproductive,
it cannot teach you anything. But if you spend some time reading
a treaty on oceanography, then you can learn! And even better
you could get a doctorate about it! Measure, compare, schematise,
classify, take notes, now you have something useful, you can
file it in an archive, you can come back to revise it and discuss
Being silent among people,
feeling their warmth, which tickles your skin and knots your
what's that? Only emotions. It would be better
to ask something interesting, observe around you, try not to
miss a detail, and at least make mental notes, so that you can
analyse them later and get some meaning out of it, try to see
the contradictions, the motivations, the psychological backgrounds,
the economic conditions, the historical components
Make a report about it,
publish something. These people you are with right now might
be the last generation of their culture, it could be lost forever,
save them, be a hero and make them visible, unforgettable,
immortal. Once the report is made and the underlying structures
have been broken down into theories, if they disappear
well, too bad, it had to happen anyway
but we will still
have the learning, the knowledge, the power. It would be much
better if we could have some pictures of them, maybe a film
which shows how they interacted and behaved.
And what about that piece of clothing? Or one of those pots
where they cook their strange but appropriate food? And the
colourful masks which carry so much meaning? Yes! Lets label
them, put them behind a glass exhibit in a museum so that people
can learn from them!
There is a lecture next
week; the professor is really an important person, well known
in academic circles, respected and trusted. The students are
eager to learn, they have been preparing themselves and reading
a lot about the subject. We will all sit down in a big auditorium
with good acoustics so that we don't miss a word. Notes will
be taken, artefacts will be shown, and a video showing dancing
and crying people will help to illustrate the theories. The
People studied give us an understanding about far away places,
other ways to see the world and different behaviours. We will
be surprised, with mouths agape and busy pens. At the end we
might even talk about it and share some impressions, we will
end up as better and more open-minded people!
The exam is coming and we
should learn a lot of stuff we should be able to express! To
make thoughtful commentaries, to enounce theories, to recapitulate
the experience of others, to analyse cases using different points
of view, to strongly defend our positions, to prove we are strong
If we are good
and lucky students,
then we will get our diploma, a confirmation of the knowledge
we gained, a paper for our identities, a validation of our skills.
Those people from the video
will still be dancing and crying, and a new generation of students
will be sitting in the auditorium, listening to their professor
and taking notes.