There was so much to grok, so little to grok from

November 17, 2016

I’ve started rereading Stranger In A Strange Land by Robert A. Heinlein. I’ve read it all the way through two or three times, must have started it three or four more times.  In the last week or two, I’ve come to start thinking about a lot of concepts that have been nagging at the back of my mind.  The story is essentially that a man was born on Mars and raised by Martians, coming to Earth as a young man.  As a result of being raised by Martians, Michael Smith follows their beliefs and practices, bringing strange abilities and philosophies with him to Earth.  One of the early episodes of Star Trek in the 1960s–Charlie X–dealt with a similar premise and themes and was likely influenced by the novel.

The overarching philosophy of the story being grok, which sort of means to understand and know intuitively, as though it is a part of you.  To drink of, I think is one of the more literal definitions in the novel.  It is intentionally difficult to define, as it is designed as a Martian concept.

Mostly I’ve just been thinking about how… little of what’s going that people are able to grok.  So many problems in the world seem to have a baseline in just failing to reach a deeper understanding of the world and how it functions.  On this planet, there is a growing interconnectedness about our cultures that cannot be ignored and we’re going to have accept.  You can resist, throw around ideas about making countries great again, but our concept of the world is changing everyday and you have to grok the things you don’t like about that as much as the things you do.

Politically, I think one of the biggest failures of our elected officials is to take too much of a… religious approach, for lack of a better term.  So narrow they cannot fathom the connections they would see if they grokked the entirety of this country.

And this isn’t necessarily a global or a national thing, it can be a personal thing too.  As I’ve said in the past, one of the more frustrating things about my break-up last year was her lack of personal responsibility–just one more brief anecdote about LMCBW.  A lot of the issues with us could have been resolved by simple efforts on her part to grok our situation as one of equals.  I like to think I understood her better than she wants to admit, albeit not perfectly.  I made mistakes and I take responsibility for them.  I’ve been wrong about some stuff, but I do think I grokked the big things.

Point is, I’m going to try harder to take more responsibility.  To realize how connected everything is and understand those connections.  To grok the world around me.

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