I'm looking for a word that expresses the state of not knowing and/or ignoring each other.

In a blog post, I've found the term Principle of Mutual Oblivion. This is supposed to be a rule in software engineering that states that two things should not know each other (to be more precise: Two modules at the same level of abstraction should not know each other).

The word oblivion feels strange to me here. I know two meanings of the word oblivion:

  1. the state of no longer being known (to sink/fall into oblivion)
  2. to be unconscious, sleeping, or otherwise unaware of everything around (to drink oneself into oblivion).

Wiktionary, MacMillan, and Merriam-Webster support this.

Can oblivion be the noun that precisely corresponds to to be oblivious to something (in the sense of completely ignoring or not knowing something specific)? It seems to me that it is meant in that way here.

If oblivion is not the right word in that context, what's a better word? In the concrete case, it doesn't matter if the word expresses willingly ignoring something specific or the lack of knowledge of something specific. But it should not express being completely unaware of everything. It should also be a neutral term. I came up with ignorance, i.e., Principle of Mutual Ignorance. Is that better?

  • If you are willingly ignorant of something, you are still aware of its existence. Would something like isolated fit? Commented Nov 3, 2018 at 18:25
  • 1
    I'd say 'unawareness' but you haven't given much context. Commented Nov 3, 2018 at 18:35
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    A clue: relatively few inventors of words for features in the world computing and programming worry too much about sticking to precise meanings. You could call it ‘modular isolation’, ‘modular insulation’, or anything that roughly fits the bill.
    – Tuffy
    Commented Nov 3, 2018 at 20:54
  • The term already exists somehow. So I just wonder if the word "oblivion" is used correctly here. "Unawareness" would fit. Isolation would have a slightly different semantics.
    – R2C2
    Commented Nov 3, 2018 at 21:56
  • Can it be 'unintroduced'?
    – Ram Pillai
    Commented Sep 25, 2020 at 10:06

2 Answers 2


As an IT engineer myself, I know what you are talking about.

I believe the word you are looking for is seclusion.

  • Can you provide a dictionary definition or any other reference to support this,  or maybe an example of somebody (other than you) using this word in this context? Commented Nov 4, 2018 at 0:17
  • Can seclusion be mutual? I'd like to express that neither A knows B nor vice versa. But they both should depend on a C on a lower level of abstraction. Seclusion feels to me more like "closed against certain types of changes". Is that correct?
    – R2C2
    Commented Nov 4, 2018 at 9:33

Willful ignorance, an idiom, may be useful for your question. YFD

An intentional obliviousness to something that one knows to be true.

As in:

Your willful ignorance is appalling!.

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