Principium Volume II, Book 10, Quote 994 and 995

994. (11-24-2010) When we reflect how much knowledge possessed by other people is an essential condition for the successful pursuit of our individual aims, the magnitude of our ignorance of the circumstances on which the results of our action depend appears simply staggering. [Man’s] [k]nowledge exists only as the knowledge of individuals. It is not much better than a metaphor to speak of the knowledge of society as a whole. The sum of the knowledge of all the individuals exists nowhere as an integrated whole. The great problem is how we can all profit from this knowledge, which exists only dispersed as the separate, partial, and sometimes conflicting beliefs of all men.

- Friedrich A. Hayek – The Constitution of Liberty, 1978


995. (11-24-2010) In other words, it is largely because civilization enables us constantly to profit from knowledge which we individually do not possess and because each individual’s use of his particular knowledge may serve to assist others unknown to him in achieving their ends that men as members of civilized society can pursue their individual ends so much more successfully than they could alone. We know little of the particular facts to which the whole of social activity continuously adjusts itself in order to provide what we have learned to expect….And our attitude, when we discover how little we know of what makes us co-operate, is, on the whole, one of resentment rather than wonder or curiosity. Much of our occasional impetuous desire to smash the whole entangling machinery of civilization is due to the inability of man to understand what he is doing.

- Friedrich A. Hayek – The Constitution of Liberty, 1978

2 views0 comments

Recent Posts

See All

Principium Volume III, Book 13, Quote 1331 and 1334

1331. (3-3-2011) (The book “On Power” is going to be much more cerebral and feel abstract, but lend your mental faculties to it and bits of truth begin to come. Like the leaks in a dam, dike, or levy,