The capabilities of living creatures are affected by, and depend on knowledge and ignorance.

The capabilities of living creatures are influenced by intangible resources of knowledge and ignorance derived from their perception, reason, and experience of activities and events. Some of these activities and events depend on knowledge, but others do not. A shipwrecked sailor may discover a desert island simply by drifting helplessly in a boat without oars. The discovery and the activities depend on no previous knowledge. However, such activity cannot be described as managed. A sailor in a boat with a sail, a chart, a compass and a sextant and the knowledge of how to use them could be more confident in finding the same island, but the result would be the same. A manager with no knowledge of sales potential may discover that a new product sells particularly well. A market research consultant with knowledge of the market might come to the same conclusion, although the knowledge would not in itself affect the sales. Knowledge and ignorance are part of the requisites of activities, and always affect activities.

Knowledge and Ignorance

Ignorance may be due to unawareness that an action may lead to some particular outcome. Ignorance may also be due to a mistake, – that the person believed that some other outcome would occur from their action. The third form of ignorance is ineptitude – that the person was either incapable of producing the right outcome, or was capable but failed to do so.

Knowledge and Ignorance

The king in the Grimm’s fairy tale of Rumpelstiltskin had perceived that the miller’s daughter had produced gold from straw. Based on this experience he reasoned that she could be forced to make more if she was locked in her room. However, she was unable to spin straw into gold because of her ineptitude. The king was ignorant due to his unawareness of the lack of ability of the miller’s daughter. Rumpelstiltskin was ignorant due to his mistake in thinking that no one would ever know his name.


The source of knowledge may be from any combination of perception, or reason, or experience.

Ignorance may be due to any combination of unawareness, mistake, or ineptitude.

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