Need a little help with KTAD

How do Knowledge, Thought, Ability, and Desire map to

Purpose, Evaluation Motivate and Methodology?

What exactly do you mean by “map”?

Well, all quads are some version of KTAD, So I’m looking for

Purpose = K
Motivations = T

etc. But you know, matched up correctly.

Knowledge <–> Purpose
Thought <–> Methodology
Ability <–> Evaluation
Desire <–> Motivation

The first is easy to grasp: our desires motivate us to action. The other three take time to understand but resolve when appreciating the story as an individual mind. The Methodology for working problems is thought. The ability of the mind to work through issues is an Evaluation, and the Purpose of the mind is knowing the scope and resolution of problems.

The metaphors must go deeper, because otherwise I could easily convince myself that Knowledge is the Ability of the mind, and Evaluation is the Purpose of the mind, so I’m up for a deeper conversation.

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Thank you so much, Mike. I looked on NF and could only find things that talked around this. I can see 2 of 2 but I’d have flipped Ability to Methodology and Thought to evaluation.

Edited to add, I think the link is broken because there’s a colon at the end.

All the reason to have a deeper conversation (if this would help people’s writing).

Thanks – fixed the link

It helps if you keep the analogies consistent. As with anything, if you don’t look at all four at once, you’re going to see them skewed in different directions.

Knowledge, Thought, Ability, and Desire = Mass, Energy, Space, and Time

Saying that Knowledge is the Ability of the Mind is like saying that Mass is the Space of the Universe…

When Knowledge is the Mass of the Mind, Ability becomes the Space of the Mind…Ability is an appreciation of different bits of Knowledge and how they are related to one another “spatially” within the Mind. The more bits of Knowledge cloistered around a certain area, the greater our talent (or Ability) in that area.

Melanie covers this at great length here:

Motivation is intuitively understood as a function of Desire - which is why you find this used as the “at rest” appreciation (the Build Characters window, and the descriptions and definitions within the Theory book).

When Motivation is the Desire of the Mind, then your Thoughts become the Methodology for working through those inequities. These then spin off a relationship to Purpose, in the same way that greater Thought eventually results in some sort of Knowing (it’s not really cause, effect, but more the relationship between the two).

You can then understand Ability/Evaluation in terms of either a dependent relationship to Thought/Methodology or a companion relationship to Knowledge/Purpose. Our evaluations are a function of our greater purpose and inform our methodologies.

The only way to understand them is to understand them all at once.


A really intuitive way to think about Ability as the Space of the Mind is the concept of degrees of freedom from physics and chemistry. The degrees of freedom of a system is intimately tied to space (number of dimensions in which the components of the system are free to move).

This physics stackexchange answer gives a decent overview (feel free to stop reading when it gets really dense):