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- THE UNDERSTANDING OF UNDERSTANDINGS
- We tend to use the word “understanding” as though there were a universal agreement on what “understanding” means. Any inspection of usage of that word will yield at least four distinct meanings. This is significant in many ways, but the most important way is in comprehending one another. The four meanings are described briefly below as types 1, 2, 3 and 4.
- 1)Commonness of emotion. 2) Inclusion within a class. 3) Comprehension of cause-effect relationships. 4) Mathematical expression.
- To give an example of how one incident can be understood in four distinct ways, consider that a child is seen lying in a street with a woman weeping over the child, and that the child is obviously injured badly.
- 1) We would understand the woman’s grief, as she perhaps is the child’s mother and we would feel the same way if the same thing had happened to one of our children. 2) The presence of the child and the absence of a vehicle indicate that this is hit-and-run accident. 3) The child was hit by a vehicle that produced serious trauma. 4) This understanding would require the combination of equations expressing the inertia of the child and the inertia of the vehicle. Type 4 is seldom used in daily life by most of us.
- When we communicate with another, it is important that we use the same type of understanding as the other is probably using, otherwise the other is likely to say, “I don’t understand.” For instance, it is impossible to understand e=mc˛ by only using cause and effect relationships. Even though we may accept that a small amount of mass is converted into energy, we will never understand how such a small amount of mass can yield such a large amount of energy, except by the means provided by the equation e=mc˛.
- Those that are accustomed to using type 2 understanding, as are many with strong fundamental religious beliefs, would find it impossible to believe that we are the product of minute life forms that originated billions of years ago. Evolution just doesn’t fall into a class of occurrences that they accept, even though they apparently find no difficulty in believing that God had existed in the absence of a Universe forever until deciding to create the Universe and mankind in the following six days.
- Those that think with type 3 understandings don’t find difficulty in accepting that the enormity of the billions of years and the 197 million square miles of the Earth’s surface, could originate a minute life form that would change through mutation, and survival of only the most able, into the life form named homo sapiens. This doesn’t mean that we could have predicted the eventual outcome from the starting recipe, but it does permit that it could occur and that since we are here, that it therefore did occur.
- One of the most useful benefits of using these four types of understandings is in predicting the compatibility of individuals. All four types are useful for some purposes, and useless in others. Almost all of us use the first three daily, and to great advantage in coping with the world surrounding us including others. For instance, if we were scratched by a cat, we would merely say that that is something that should be expected when handling a cat. We neither try to guess at the cat’s emotions, nor try to figure out what a cat’s claw would do if dragged across flesh. After all, it’s just a cat.
- But, if we try to understand why another exhibits violent behavior, it would be useless to just say that the person is evil or bad. We would probably use type 3 to determine what event provoked the violent response. In this effort, we would also probably employ type 1 if we could find any commonality in the way that we feel and the way the other might have felt. Applying type 2, in this case, would only block solving that individual’s problem of responding with violence.
- Many type 2 understandings result from social evolution within small societies, or societies that have been isolated from other societies. Within such societies, type 2 is essential, for lack of conformity often led to being shunned or even banished. Type 3 tends to be disruptive when it leads to questioning the purpose or cause of the beliefs so long held in common. Those individuals that have been reared in such a society will find great difficulty when moving to a multicultural rapidly changing society. Their habit of using type 2 causes them to adversely judge most of what is occurring about them. We also have trouble understanding them, in their apparent refusal to adapt to the circumstances that were seldom if ever found in the society from which they came.
- For this reason, those that primarily use type 2 will have great compatibility problems around type 3s, and vice-versa. Occasionally there will be a type 3 that was reared in a home where both parents were type 2, but with the family living in a culture where type 3 is primarily used. This individual will have less compatibility problem with a type 2 because of the childhood experiences of being reared by type 2s. The type 2s however, may have considerable problems because of the seemingly very unorthodox behavior and beliefs of the type 3.
- Because type 3 is usually found in a multicultural rapidly changing society, there is often the conclusion of coldness; since type 1 understanding is so seldom expressed. Type 1 is present in all of us, but there is vast difference in how reliant the individuals are in its use. Some will rely heavily on type 1, while others seem to never do so.
- Most of us seem to depend on a primary and secondary type of understanding, with the other two seldom used because they seem so unhelpful in coping with life. Individuals can be classified into their primary type and their secondary type for help in predicting compatibility. Thus individuals may be classed as a 31 which means that their primary type is 3 and their secondary type is 1.
- The most compatible combinations are when both individuals utilize the exact same combination of understandings, such as a 13 and a 13 or a 21 and a 21. High compatibility still exists where the two individuals use the same types but in a different order, such as 13 and a 31, or a 21 and a 12. The most troublesome combination usually evolves around the combination when type 2 is primary and the other individual is a type 3 primarily, and having the secondary as non-type 2. An example is a 21 and a 31. The only hope in this combination is when the 31 was reared in a home where type 2 was primary but the child acquired type 3 from the culture around the family.
- In many individuals, the secondary type is so seldom used that it can be either ignored or inferred from the rare displays of another type. There are other individuals where the primary and secondary seem to be evenly relied on. When one of these is a type 2, and the other a type 3, the individual seems to always be embodying an internal struggle for dominance, a kind of internalized civil war. This is typical of the individual reared in a home where type 2 was primary but with the child having to live in a world where type 3 is primary. When the individual is a 21, and where the primary and secondary types are near equal, the problem that individual will have is in dealing with a culture that uses type 3 primarily.
- Those that use type 2 primarily and still live in small and closed societies (such as small remote towns), are now being invaded by the media. This produces all manner of conflict within these societies. Those cultures that ban most contact with the outside world, including the media, will continue to exist with almost the same degree of peaceful and predictable existence that they’ve had for centuries. Those that leave this society to live in the mainstream will have great problems adapting.For most of us,taking the various types of understandings that others probably use into consideration, will aid in comprehending how they view the world and how they view us, and hopefully reduce our conflicts.
- Some of our deepest questions are not answerable by mere words but by living the answer; this is because the answers are mixtures of our emotions and thoughts, only the latter of which is freely communicated by words. In some sense this kind of answer is like a room that must be entered and lived within before an answer grows and becomes the answer.
- Much of mankind’s problems comes from using the wrong tools for a job at hand, and no instances of this is more common when we use our minds when we should have used our hearts, and using our hearts when we should have used our minds.
- Though never asked, it is doubtful if the caterpillar wanted to become a butterfly, or that we want to become what we eventually will be.
- In some ways, life is like some medicines that are labeled “Shake Well Before Using”. If not shaken, we tend to become passive and just float through life from birth to death; it is because of those things that shake us to our cores, that we awaken to become more than we were, and most often more than we ever thought that we could be.
- Trying to remember the origin of one’s beliefs is like trying to remember one’s birth.
- In mankind’s long evolution, his survival depended upon the unity of his tribe, a unity that imposed a rigid kind of tyranny on the individual to conform to certain rules of conduct. Today, tribal tendencies, instead of creating cohesiveness are creating conflict and division, which will remain a continuing problem until mankind recognizes that all of mankind is of one tribe.
- Generally, we forget what we are taught and remember what we learn.
- When someone says that something is a lot of baloney, they probably are accurate; after all, baloney, if its contents were examined individually, are things we probably would not choose to swallow at all,
- Sometimes very simple things can cause an unexpected and large increase in one’s happiness, and one of these is to simply not judge others in any way regardless of what they do, whether their acts are positive or negative.
- WALT HASKINS
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