“Need to Know”

You may have heard the phrase Knowledge is Power. or maybe scientia potentia est or even ipsa scientia potestas est. Okay, so maybe you are a stranger to quotes from Francis Bacon seventeenth century English philosopher, statesman, scientist, jurist, orator, author, etc. etc. But it is still possible to believe in the idiom.

If you do believe knowledge is power, you might be the type of person who uses the power of the internet for good. You might still read books—or at the very least you listen to them. I too am that person. In fact, on personality profiles I often am categorized as a “learner” or have the attribute of “knowledge.” Hell, my previous email address was infohound.

What does it mean to be categorized as a learner? It means that I am the type of person who when posed with a problem, like being shot with an arrow, for example. I am unable to simply pull out the arrow and go about my way. I have a need to know where the arrow came from, who shot it, where it was made, and maybe even the materials used to make it.

My desire for knowledge is intricately woven within my analytical nature. It is necessary for me to have all of the information so I may weave the knowledge with the analysis to have a fabric of understanding. This can sometimes be an issue because some folks are of the mind that EVERYTHING is on a “need to know” basis.

“Need to know” is a term that is used to explain why some people do not share information. It is typically used when information is classified or secret. It is understandable that everybody and their brother would not be privy to the Coke recipe or how to make a gun out of plastic. Still “need to know” is not a valid reason for not sharing information. Another way you might have heard this phrase is “I am the Mommy that why” or “because”…yeah…not reasons.

Sometimes all it takes to feel more comfortable is to be transparent. Explain why you are doing or not doing, saying or not saying something. People may feel offended if left to draw their own conclusions. Worse still, it may miss the mark.

Yes, sometimes there is a bonafide reason for information to be “need to know” but most likely there is not. Often is it only a strategy to exhibit some type of control over the situation or a person. Consider if a parent told a child not to touch the stove and the child asked why? The best response is definitely not “I am the Mommy/Daddy that’s why.”

Consider how you dispense information. Consider how you would feel if the reason you were cut off in traffic was because someone was rushing to the hospital.  Not because they are trying to be the first in the line.

Sometimes we don’t have all the information. Many times it is better to have more; because it can bring peace of mind even if the obstacle remains.


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