Tag Archives: power

Killer Quotes – Macolm X on the power of the media.

“The media’s the most powerful entity on earth. They have the power to make the innocent guilty and to make the guilty innocent, and that’s power. Because they control the minds of the masses.”

Malcolm X

Malcolm X was born Malcolm Little in 1925 and rose to prominence as a civil rights activist the early 1960s.

His father was murdered by white supremacists and at least one of his uncles was lynched. Malcolm X turned to Islam and rose to a position of influence and prominence in the Nation of Islam as a cleric and activist.

What he says of the power of the media and their influence is more true today than it was even in 1965.  With the saturation of information in today’s media diversity in opinion and sources of news and information, whilst greater, it is more difficult today to assimilate and differentiate fact from theory, from fiction, from conspiracy theory than it was in the day of Malcolm X.

The lesson, therefore, beware what you believe from the media.  Be discerning in the sources you place trust and credence in and before you act always, always question where your opinion comes from and how you came by it.

The truth is out there, somewhere, hidden amongst all that information, opinion and speculation.

Malcolm X was assassinated on  21 February 1965.

Killer Quotes – Carl Sagan on the need to democratise knowledge.

We have also arranged things so that almost no one understands science and technology. This is a prescription for disaster. We might get away with it for a while, but sooner or later this combustible mixture of ignorance and power is going to blow up in our faces.”

Carl Sagan

Carl Sagan was a planetary astronomer, astrophysicist and science educator who was a driving force behind the SETI program.  He was also the writer of one of the most influential books in my life.  That book ‘Cosmos‘ and the television series hosted by him based upon that book awakened in me a love of learning and knowing and inquiry which have served me well through my teenage years, through my university days and into my professional life.  If you can get a hold of the series do not delay.  Do it immediately.  You will not regret it, not for a moment.  Alternatively, or rather additionally, get hold of the book and read it and re-read it and read it to your children and let them read it too.

Sagan is gone but his legacy lives on in the light his work in science and science education has shone on the subjects he has touched for the generations privileged to be touched by his genius during his lifetime and through this illumination for generations to come.

The quote I have extracted above is indicative of the concern he had for the state of the balance of power and understanding in the world.  Where politics is a cult of personality where those in power are not versed in the technology behind the power at their disposal and where vested interests have interests in keeping the method and mechanism behind the technology and science which is the engine of their success mysterious, esoteric and the exclusive province of the narrowly focussed.  The powder keg is primed and the fuse is lit and unless someone has the will and the power to shine an illuminating light on the way in which the wheels that power the engines of industry, society and innovation turn then someone is going to press the button marked ‘idiot‘ and let the genie out of the bottle.  Once the bottle is unstoppered and the genie is out then there’s no way to get it to return to the bottle.

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