Knowledge Itself Is Power Essay Words

The phrase "scientia potentia est" (or "scientia est potentia" or also "scientia potestas est") is a Latinaphorism meaning "knowledge is power". It is commonly attributed to Sir Francis Bacon, although there is no known occurrence of this precise phrase in Bacon's English or Latin writings. However, the expression "ipsa scientia potestas est" ('knowledge itself is power') occurs in Bacon's Meditationes Sacrae (1597). The exact phrase "scientia potentia est" was written for the first time in the 1668 version of the work Leviathan by Thomas Hobbes, who was secretary to Bacon as a young man.

The related phrase "sapientia est potentia" is often translated as "wisdom is power".[1]


Origins and parallels[edit]

The earliest documented occurrence of the phrase "Knowledge is power" is from Imam Ali (599-661 CE), as recorded in the tenth-century book Nahj Al-Balagha (originally in Arabic). He said:

Knowledge is power and it can command obedience. A man of knowledge during his lifetime can make people obey and follow him and he is praised and venerated after his death. Remember that knowledge is a ruler and wealth is its subject.

— Imam Ali, Nahj Al-Balagha, Saying 146

Another account of this concept is found in the Shahnameh by the Persian poet Ferdowsi (940–1020 CE) who wrote: "Capable is he who is wise" (in Persian: توانا بود هر که دانا بود).[2] This hemistich is translated to English as "knowledge is power" or "One who has wisdom is powerful".[3]

A proverb in practically the same wording is found in Hebrew, in the Biblical Book of Proverbs (24:5): גֶּבֶר-חָכָם בַּעוֹז; וְאִישׁ-דַּעַת, מְאַמֶּץ-כֹּחַ. This was translated in the latin Vulgata as "vir sapiens et fortis est et vir doctus robustus et validus"[4] and in the King James Version, the first English official edition, as "A wise man is strong, a man of knowledge increaseth strength".[5]

Thomas Hobbes[edit]

The first known reference of the exact phrase appeared in the Latin edition of Leviathan (1668; the English version had been published in 1651). This passage from Part 1 ("De Homine"), Chapter X ("De Potentia, Dignitate et Honore") occurs in a list of various attributes of man which constitute power; in this list, "sciences" or "the sciences" are given a minor position:

Scientia potentia est, sed parva; quia scientia egregia rara est, nec proinde apparens nisi paucissimis, et in paucis rebus. Scientiae enim ea natura est, ut esse intelligi non possit, nisi ab illis qui sunt scientia praediti[6]

In the English version this passage reads as thus:

The sciences are small powers; because not eminent, and therefore, not acknowledged in any man; nor are at all, but in a few, and in them, but of a few things. For science is of that nature, as none can understand it to be, but such as in a good measure have attained it.[7]

On a later work, De Corpore (1655), also written in Latin, Hobbes expanded the same idea:

The end or scope of philosophy is, that we may make use to our benefit of effects formerly seen ... for the commodity of human life ... The end of knowledge is power ... lastly, the scope of all speculation is the performing of some action, or thing to be done.[8]

In Jean Hampton, Hobbes and the social contract tradition (1988), Hampton indicates that this quote is 'after Bacon' and in a footnote, that 'Hobbes was Bacon's secretary as a young man and had philosophical discussions with him (Aubrey 1898, 331).[9]

Francis Bacon[edit]

The closest expression in Bacon's works is, perhaps, the expression "scientia potestas est", found in his Meditationes Sacrae (1597), which is perhaps better translated as "knowledge is His power", because the context of the sentence refers to the qualities of God and is imbedded in a discussion of heresies that deny the power of God: statuuntque latiores terminos scientiae Dei quam potestatis, vel potius ejus partis potestatis Dei (nam et ipsa scientia potestas est) qua scit, quam ejus qua movet et agit: ut praesciat quaedam otiose, quae non praedestinet et praeordinet.

The English translation of this section includes the following:

"This canon is the mother of all canons against heresies. The cause of error is twofold : ignorance of the will of God, and ignorance or superficial consideration of the power of God. The will of God is more revealed through the Scriptures… his power more through his creatures… So is the plenitude of God’s power to be asserted, as not to involve any imputation upon his will. So is the goodness of his will to be asserted, as not to imply any derogation of his power.
"… Atheism and Theomachy rebels and mutinies against the power of God ; not trusting to his word, which reveals his will, because it does not believe in his power, to whom all things are possible… But of the heresies which deny the power of God, there are, besides simple atheism, three degrees…
"The third degree is of those who limit and restrain the former opinion to human actions only, which partake of sin: which actions they suppose to depend substantively and without any chain of causes upon the inward will and choice of man; and who give a wider range to the knowledge of God than to his power; or rather to that part of God’s power (for knowledge itself is power) whereby he knows, than to that whereby he works and acts ; suffering him to fore know some things as an unconcerned looker on, which he does not predestine and preordain : a notion not unlike the figment which Epicurus introduced into the philosophy of Democritus, to get rid of fate and make room for fortune; namely the sidelong motion of the Atom; which has ever by the wiser sort been accounted a very empty device." (pp. 94–95; Works of Bacon, Vol XIV, Boston; Brown and Taggard, 1861)

Interpretation of the notion of power meant by Bacon must therefore take into account his distinction between the power of knowing and the power of working and acting, the opposite of what is assumed when the maxim is taken out of context.[10] Indeed, the quotation has become a cliche.

In another place, Bacon wrote, "Human knowledge and human power meet in one; for where the cause is not known the effect cannot be produced. Nature to be commanded must be obeyed; and that which in contemplation is as the cause is in operation as the rule."[11]

Ralph Waldo Emerson[edit]

Ralph Waldo Emerson wrote in his essay Old Age, included in the collection Society and Solitude (1870):

Skill to do comes of doing; knowledge comes by eyes always open, and working hands; and there is no knowledge that is not power.[12]

Wissen ist Macht in Germany[edit]

After the 1871, unification of Germany, "Wissen ist Macht, geographisches Wissen ist Weltmacht" (Knowledge is power, geographical knowledge is world power) was often used in German geography and the public discussion to support efforts for a German colonial empire after 1880. Julius Perthes e.g., used the motto for his publishing house.[13] However, the installation of geographical research followed popular requests and was not imposed by the government.[14] Especially Count Bismarck was not much interested in German colonial adventures; his envoy Gustav Nachtigal started with the first protective areas, but was more interested in ethnological aspects.

After World War I, German geography tried to contribute to efforts to regain a world power. Scholars like Karl Haushofer, a former general, and his son Albrecht Haushofer (both in close contact with Rudolf Hess) got worldwide attention with their concept of geopolitics. Associations of German geographers and school teachers welcomed the Machtergreifung and hoped to get further influence in the new regime.

The postwar geography was much more cautious; concepts of political geography and projection of power had not been widespread scholarly topics till 1989 in Germany.

Geographical knowledge is however still of importance in Germany. Germans tend to mock US politicians' and celebrities' comparable lack of interest in the topic. A Sponti (Außerparlamentarische Opposition) version of the slogan is "Wissen ist Macht, nichts wissen, macht auch nichts", a pun about the previous motto along the line "Knowledge is power, but being ignorant doesn't bother anyway". Joschka Fischer and Daniel Cohn-Bendit belong to those Spontis that nevertheless held powerful positions, in Fischer's case with no more formal education than a taxi driver's licence.

The German Bundeswehr Bataillon Elektronische Kampfführung 932, an electronic warfare unit based in Frankenberg (Eder), still uses the Latin version Scientia potentia est as its motto.


Though its meaning varies from author to author, the phrase often implies[according to whom?] that with knowledge or education, one's potential or abilities in life will certainly increase. Having and sharing knowledge is widely recognized as the basis for improving one's reputation and influence, thus power. This phrase may also be used as a justification for a reluctance to share information when a person believes that withholding knowledge can deliver to that person some forms of advantage. Another interpretation is that the only true power is knowledge, as everything (including any achievement) is derived from it.

See also[edit]


Terry Brooks. First King of Shannara Ballantine. C. 1996


  • Thomas Hobbes, Opera philosophica, quae latine scripsit, omnia in unum corpus nunc primum collecta studio et labore Gulielmi Molesworth, Bart. (London: Bohn, 1839–45).
  • Thomas Hobbes, The English Works of Thomas Hobbes of Malmesbury; Now First Collected and Edited by Sir William Molesworth, Bart. (London: Bohn, 1839–45). 11 vols.
  • Ralph Waldo Emerson, Society and Solitude. Twelve Chapters, Boston, The Riverside Press, 1892.

Further reading[edit]

External links[edit]

Sir Francis Bacon, "ipsa scientia potestas est" (knowledge itself is power). Meditationes Sacrae (1597).
  1. ^Dario Fo (June 13, 2004). "Knowledge like challenge to every form of powers". (in Italian). 
  2. ^"Shahnameh, first poem, couplet 14. توانا بود هر که دانا بود ز دانش دل پیر برنا بود knowledge is power with the knowledge, the heart of the old people will be young (Ferdowsi) e.f." 
  3. ^"The Modern Magazine for Persian Weddings, Cuisine, Culture & Community". Retrieved 2012-09-20. 
  4. ^Biblia Sacra Vulgata, Proverbia
  5. ^Holy Bible, King James Version, Proverbs 24:5
  6. ^Thomas Hobbes, Opera philosophica..., Volume III (Leviathan [1668]), p. 69
  7. ^Thomas Hobbes, The English Works of Thomas Hobbes of Malmesbury..., Volume 3 (Leviathan), p. 75.
  8. ^Thomas Hobbes De Corpore, Part I, Chapter I (On Phylosophy). In Thomas Hobbes, The English Works of Thomas Hobbes of Malmesbury..., Volume I, p. 7. From the Latin edition: Thomas Hobbes, Opera philosophica..., Volume 1, p. 6
  9. ^"Thomas Hobbes Quotes - 14 Science Quotes - Dictionary of Science Quotations and Scientist Quotes". 2012-01-19. Retrieved 2012-09-20. 
  10. ^Vickers, Brian (1992). "Francis Bacon and the Progress of Knowledge". Journal of the History of Ideas. 53 (3): 495–518. JSTOR 2709891. 
  11. ^Francis Bacon, Novum Organum, Part I, Aphorism III. Boston: Taggard & Thompson, 1863, volume VIII, pp. 67–68.
  12. ^Ralph Waldo Emerson, Society and Solitude, 1892, p. 303
  13. ^ALEXANDER U. MARTENS (24 June 1997). "Geographie als Weltmacht Klett und Perthes werben für ein "Museum der Erde" in Gotha". Die Welt. Retrieved 29 August 2014. 
  14. ^Brogiato, Heinz Peter. ""Wissen ist Macht - Geographisches Wissen ist Weltmacht". Die schulgeographischen Zeitschriften im deutschsprachigen Raum (1880-1945) unter besonderer Berücksichtigung des Geographischen Anzeigers. Teil 1: Textband: 656 S., Teil 2: Registerband: 474 S. Trier 1998 (Materialien zur Didaktik der Geographie, Heft 18). Review by Hans Böhm, Erdkunde, 54. Jahrgang, 2000, Heft 4, S. 382-384" (in German). Archived from the original on 13 December 2014. Retrieved 29 August 2014.  

‘Knowledge is Power’ is a proverb refers that knowledge is a true power which always remains with the person in all good and bad times. Knowledge makes a person powerful and empowers to win over any condition.

Essay on Knowledge is Power

‘Knowledge is Power’ is very famous and effective proverb. Students generally get this topic in their school during exam time or any essay writing competition to write something in their own words to express views and ideas on this proverb. We have provided here various ‘Knowledge is Power essay’ in very easy and simple words to help school students. Dear students, you can use any of the essay on Knowledge is Power given below according to your need and requirement.

Knowledge is Power Essay 1 (100 words)

Knowledge is power proverb is said by the Francis Bacon. Knowledge is power means; a person having more knowledge will be able to control circumstances in the life accordingly. Knowledge is power really means if one has complete knowledge, he/she can be more powerful in the world and do not require other things in life such as anyone’s help, friends, etc. Knowledge is a most strong tool provides power to people which cannot be defeated by other power on the earth. Knowledge provides social power to person holding certain power over those people who do not. Knowledge and power is a go together forever guy, help to address various difficulties in life. We can say that knowledge gives power and power gives knowledge.

Knowledge is Power Essay 2 (150 words)

The real meaning of proverb ‘Knowledge is Power’ (said by the Francis Bacon) is, knowledge is truly a power and power of knowledge is almost everything. Actually, that is the knowledge which has distinguished the difference in man from animals. Human beings cannot compare animals in the physical power however have been counted as the most powerful creature on the earth just because of the power of knowledge.

Human beings are physically weaker than animals yet they have managed things for years to become the most powerful creature on earth. Because they get power from knowledge and not depend on the physical strength. Human beings are clever creature of nature, they have ability to acquire knowledge and preserve their knowledge, research and experiences in the books in order to pass to the new generations. Knowledge gives them power to know how to control the forces of nature and then use them for getting benefited.

Knowledge is Power Essay 3 (200 words)

Knowledge is power is the famous proverb which means knowledge is very powerful and has ability to win over all other physical power in the world. Once a person gets power of knowledge, he/she do not need to fear from other power. Knowledge plays great role in all aspects of the life by let us know the easy and effective ways to solve the circumstances. Knowledge is a very powerful factor which helps us to easily get name, fame, success, power and position in the life. We can say that money and physical strength are also important tools of power; however both of them are not so powerful like knowledge. Money and physical strength cannot buy or steal the knowledge; it can only be achieved by the continuous practice, devotion, and patience.

Knowledge helps us to convert our planning into the right action and enables to get the difference between right or wrong and good or bad. It helps us to overcome our weaknesses and faults as well as makes us able to face the dangers and difficulties by giving lots of courage and confidence. It makes a person more powerful by giving him mental, moral and spiritual advancement in the life.


Knowledge is Power Essay 4 (250 words)

Knowledge is power which we can say that it is almost everything because it has ability to make a physically weak person a most strong person of the world. It gives everything in the life like money, power, name, fame, success and position. Knowledge gives a person ability to understand, analyze, make better decisions and evolve most intelligent thoughts. It gives us feeling of well being and helps to improve the lives of us and people in our surroundings.

A more knowledgeable person in the society becomes more valuable and respected. A knowledgeable person gets more fame very easily and people want to work with him. Knowledge is the way to more doors and opportunities in the life. Knowledge provides actual freedom in the life and opens all the doors of success. Knowledge provides power to speak through our mind which really helps people to understand who you truly are.

Knowledge is very important tool to get positive changes in the society and country. Knowledge helps us to absorb things from the genius people which have potential to improve the quality of life. Knowledge is the only precious thing which nobody can take away from us; it remains with us forever and increases if we distribute it among the needy people. It gives new and revolutionary ideas which help to alter the way of viewing the world. So, we can say that knowledge is pillar to the success and happiness.

Knowledge is Power Essay 5 (300 words)

Knowledge is power proverb is said by the Francis Bacon, a great essayist. He had given his opinion that knowledge is the source of power to man. The meaning of knowledge is power is that real power comes from the knowledge which distinguishes man from animals. It is very true that human beings are physically weak than animals however they are not so weak by mind because they have knowledge which gives them true power to handle almost everything in the world. Man is considered as the clever creature on the earth even after being weak physically than other creatures.

Man has a mind, full of knowledge and thus full of power which make them able to manage various up and down circumstances in the life. There are many things which man cannot do physically such as running on bare foot, see far like an eagle, run so fast like panther, fight with forest animals, carry heavy loads, smell fast like dog, etc; but he can do all things through the technologies developed by him by using his power of knowledge.

Man has ability to get knowledge (from books, research and experience), preserve into books and again pass on that knowledge to their successive generations. Knowledge is a power which can control nature’s forces as well as giving benefits. The use of knowledge depends on the man; he can use it in positive and negative ways too. The use of knowledge in positive ways give lots of benefits to the humanity however, in the negative ways, it may destroy the whole planet. Man has power to wisely use the knowledge for mankind in order to create a better and safer world.

True knowledge keeps people away from the fights, corruption and other social issues harmful for the humanity. Undoubtedly, we can say that knowledge is power which can bring countless happiness to the people if it is used in the right direction especially for the welfare of whole humanity. Knowledge opens the eyes of people and opens all the way to success.


Knowledge is Power Essay 6 (400 words)

Knowledge is power is the most famous and true proverb said by the famous personality named, Francis Bacon. Knowledge helps to differentiate between human beings and animals. Man has mind and ability to use the power of knowledge accordingly, that’s why man is called as the most powerful and intelligent creature on the earth by the nature. Knowledge helps in improving the personality of man; it creates self confidence and brings lots of patience to do most difficult tasks in the life. We can say godmother to the knowledge because it gives ways to all the discoveries, inventions, and explorations.

Knowledge gain is not limited to anything; it can be gained by the person all through the life of any age. Knowledge gain is a long process of dedication, patience and continuity. It is like unlimited money which can never be finished, however the level of knowledge of a person increases with the distribution among needy people. A person can gain some new knowledge through the regular observation and experimentation. Every person take birth with same quality, mind and power, however when he/she grows develops different quality, mind and power; all differences are just because of the knowledge level of every person. For example, Newton discovered theory of gravitation and there are other many famous scientists who have been discovered amazing things in life involving in making life easy and advance on the earth. All have been possible because of the power of knowledge.

All the modern technologies discovered in many countries individually have made countries so powerful economically and militarily than other countries, all are based on knowledge. The underlying secret of every success is the power of knowledge which ultimately gives a person name, fame and money. India has also done a lot in the field of science, research, medicine, education, etc; still developing continuously in various fields to be a powerful country on the basis of knowledge. The progress of human beings or any country is completely depends on the growth of knowledge in various fields in the positive and constructive ways. Use of knowledge in destructive and negative ways may hugely disturb the life existence on the earth.

Francis Bacon has said that knowledge is itself a power, having ability to change everything. Knowledge gives way to handle situation, to make plan, the way to implement plan and make impossible things possible. If one has complete knowledge, he/she is the luckiest and richest person in the world because knowledge can never be stolen or plundered and does not decrease even when it is given to others. In fact, knowledge is a power and we can say that the strongest power in the world is knowledge.


Essay on knowledge is power given above are written by the professional content writer especially to help students in their difficult times. All are easily worded and given under various words limit to fulfill the need of all range of students. Apart from knowledge is power essay, you can also get other related essays and related information such as:

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