What's Better Than An Informed Society?

What's Better Than An Informed Society?

What's Better Than An Informed Society?

-By Disha Suresh

Kofi Annan, in one of his speeches, said that knowledge is power, information is liberating and education is the premise of progress in every society. Information is a source of learning, and, for the human race, which is in continuous pursuit of knowledge and experience, being informed is the key. The accumulation of knowledge and information allows a person to be well respected and successful. In a world that values money more than knowledge,  people who are well informed have left everlasting marks in the history books.

Information in the present world has been made more easily accessible with the help of the internet. Stephen Hawking has said that we are all connected by the internet like neurons in a giant brain. This Age of Information is one in which the average illiterate person, who can understand language and watch videos, can easily learn the science of the scholars. Being informed is vital for the literate and illiterate alike as it lessens the chances of one being exploited or victimized. As citizens of a democratic nation, we must be aware of data such as government spending, economic growth, to hold the government accountable and protest when faced with injustice, even when it is hidden invisible facts. An informed minority can outmatch an uninformed majority. For example, in the 1980s, only one-fifth of the erstwhile Soviet Union was Communist. However, they were able to reign for nearly 70 years. 

A well-informed society is a reflection of its government and is the vehicle to an accountable government. According to Atifete Jahjaga, democracy must be built through open societies that share information. When there is information, there is enlightenment. When there is a debate, there are solutions. When there is no sharing of power, no rule of law, no accountability, there is abuse, corruption, subjugation, and indignation. One well-known indication of the spread of knowledge and facts is the Arab Spring of 2011. It consisted of the overthrowing of oppressive regimes in the Middle East. One component of the Arab Spring was the Egyptian Revolution. Various youth groups in the country connected through Facebook and other social media platforms to spread the word on the backward and oppressive regime that they were being controlled by. President Hosni Mubarak was overthrown by liberalist elements. 

Such incidents show the importance of information and the effect that it can have in helping society progress. According to Charles Swindoll, the secret of living a life of excellence is merely a matter of thinking thoughts of excellence. Really, it's a matter of programming our minds with the kind of information that will set us free.