Imagination versus Imaginaction
In the late 16th century, Sir Francis Bacon wrote, “ipsa scientia potestas est”—or, “knowledge itself is power.” Today this phrase is often attributed to Bacon and shorthanded as “knowledge is power.”
To that, I, and many others reply—No, Sir Francis, it is not.
Knowledge is, at best, potential power. Everyone from Tony Robbins to Dale Carnegie has pointed this out. Famed American Civil War general William T. Sherman once wrote to a friend, “mere knowledge is not power, it is simply possibility. Action is power, and its highest manifestation is action with knowledge.”
But that minor point is not the point. The point here is to understand how this fact relates to the strategist’s mind and practice.
I like to think of this issue in the interplay between the imagination (what’s blue-sky desirable) and action (what’s real-world possible).