What is the one thing that is more powerful than knowledge?

July 8, 2016

Last week a group of village elders came to see me concerning a man who they all described as a recalcitrant….belligerent…and difficult person – a person who one of the elders mentioned as someone who does not seem to respect our way of life…..one of them asked me to use my influence to reason with this person….I did not answer at once…instead a very long pause ensued.

Finally I asked the question…

‘How did a level headed and reasonable man become a troublemaker and the most unreasonable person in the world?’

One of the elders interrupted me and added….how he became like that is not important….he is like that now and someone needs to set him right and straight.

After another an unusually long pause….I asked again the same question.

‘How did a level headed and reasonable man become a troublemaker and the most unreasonable person in the world?’

This time one the elders who could bear it no longer blurted out.

‘It all started twenty five years ago…..there was misunderstanding…you see…’

He was cut short by another elder who didn’t want me to know the history of the dispute…..but that was all I needed to UNDERSTAND completely and totally….it was too late thereafter you see once the cat is out of the bag….everything is so very clear.

That was when I got up from my seat and apologized to them all profusely – by telling all in a sonorous tone – I really don’t see how I can render any assistance on this matter…it is really beyond me….after all this is a matter between all of you and this man…..it has nothing whatsoever to do with me.

Before these old men took leave – one of them turned to me and asked again, ‘you refuse to help us to reason with this fellow?…what are we supposed to do?’

Again a long pause ensued as I walked alongside them to their cars…then as if hit by a sudden moment of epiphany – I told them all, it’s best to right and straighten what was once broken and twisted twenty five years ago…..why don’t you all start there…..at the very beginning….make it right there…never sweep the past underneath the carpet somewhere in your head….it will never go away.

After all….even should you all seek help from others, they too will ask of you all.

‘How did a level headed and reasonable man become a troublemaker and the most unreasonable person in the world?’

If you don’t want people to ask that sort of question – then go and hire some brainless thugs….but only remember when you go down that road, it’s a two street….do you all understand?

So please go and make it right first….then come back…AFTER that I promise….I give all my word….I will use my influence to reason with this fellow.

The light was seeping out. It was late in the evening and I rested my eyes on the fading wan of the remaining light as it sank over the hill….for the first time, I realized it must have been a very faraway place….the light, that is.


‘Knowledge is not power ontu itself – it only appears to be so…that is to say it has all the bells and whistles that gives it a sheen of competence….that is why crooked leaders like to you statistics to establish a point – besides there are many ‘knowledgable’ people out there in the world – who if you follow their life advice you will certainly flounder on the rocks – not very long ago, there was a very ‘knowledgeable’ minister who once advised young people to be crane drivers…as he heard they earn on average $7K a month in Singapore….but if you listened and acted on his advise with the housing market tanking now and the slow down sinking it’s teeth into the Singapore economy – where would you be?

Of course he has forgotten about the matter…he is after all a knowledgable man is he not. So knowledgable that even he has no idea how to stop the trains for stopping from time to time.

Knowledge is just information….data….numbers….percentages….trade off’s…it is of the head and ONLY of the head – and since it has no power to recruit the heart…..it is quite dead and inferior thing.

But understanding is something much deeper….much more complicated….much more demanding on the intellect. As I t is one part head and also the heart as well. So understanding unlike knowledge is really a total and complete thing….it’s hard and soft, white and black, ying and yang…it’s very harmonious…you don’t need to add anything else to that combination to make it complete…it is good to go, as it is!

When you ONLY have knowledge about something or someone – then whether it produces good or bad, right or wrong, justice or injustice or is closer to perdition or salvation will NEVER be clear….instead it will depend solely on HOW you make sense of that data and WHAT you plan to do about it.

The end is never in mind….there is no game plan.

But with understanding – the end is already in your mind even before it all begins and as for the means, since it is intertwined so closely with both the brain and the heart – you will always be able recruit the best qualities of what makes you a human being…your humanity…the power of empathy….wisdom in your acts and words….I am not saying for one moment UNDERSTANDING by itself – is full proof or even close to 100%, the gold standard or even anything near perfection in the decision making process….. As in truth, at times even I get it so very wrong that it is cause of great regret for me….I am just saying if you seek ONLY to understand FIRST Instead of taking and running with what one side has to say….usually experience informs me very reliably one can make better life decisions than even the most knowledgeable person in the world.

The knowledgable man has no heart after all – and the heart is the strongest muscle in the human body!

That is all I am saying…nothing more or less….I am not even adding any salt or pepper, just laying out the naked truth as I see it bare…

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