- accumulation of knowledge. the fastest way to increase power is to accumulate knowledge. the more you know, the more you grow, both in ability and in credibility. those who commit their lives to learning are better prepared for life’s challenges, respond better in crises, and over time, are looked to and admired for their advice and accomplishments. knowledge can be used for good or evil. this accumulation of knowledge is the primary level of power.
- transmission of knowledge (or, who you tell). the power that knowledge offers can be used to build up or tear down. thus, what one does with the knowledge one accumulates says much about a person. the application and utilization of accumulated knowledge is the second level of power. those who dedicate their lives to instruction and education choose the noble path. this dissemination of knowledge offers power and prestige to the instructor, which results from the appreciation of students and disciples for their education. this is the noble transmission of knowledge. education’s opposite, yet powerful relative is gossip, which is the transmission of knowledge intended to tear down, whether this detrimental act is intended or not. gossip is the irresponsible dissemination of knowledge. it is performed in secret, because the one gossiping understands that the power exercised in transmitting knowledge via gossip is unbecoming and destructive. everyone likes to know something, but the power that obtained knowledge possesses cannot be shown off to others unless it is transmitted. therefore, instruction is the power exercised by the public communication of worthwhile knowledge, while gossip is the power exercised ultimately to harm another. instruction and gossip are therefore polar opposites, both transmitting knowledge, both exercising power, but for completely opposite purposes.
- preservation of knowledge (or, who you don’t tell). the highest level of the power of knowledge rests in the preservation of knowledge. the preservation of knowledge can take the form of books written by knowledgeable and respected authors, or confidences, which are nothing more than the exercise of restraint of power by one keeping a secret. the keepers of libraries and those that control access to information are preservers of knowledge. however, one who can maintain a confidence, preserve a secret, or refrain from communicating priviledged information is the most powerful of all. it is for this reason that the greatest bits of information are often preserved as mysteries and the most important caches of accumulated wisdom throughout the ages are held by those responsible enough to disseminate this collected knowledge only to those of good character and tested heart. a trusted confidant is both valued and rare because the power of confidence is difficult to obtain. far too often it falls prey to the less disciplined practice of gossip. still, the one who can disseminate information publicly and properly, while keeping privy information in confidence is the most powerful person of all.