re: what does it mean to NEED to understand?


Richard Moore

Bcc: contributors


Lots of you responded to the ‘need to understand’ posting. I may need to excerpt a bit, to keep this posting within reasonable limits. We’ll see…
Also, Tom Schley brought an inspiring video to my attention, about the importance of cultural diversity:

jfadiman wrote:

I love that last story. let us then be miners even after we lose hope, we can still hang on to outrage.

Lynda Brayer wrote:
Dear Richard:
Thank you for your considered answer.  And I think that you have encompassed it all.
There could be another reason for our pursuit of knowing what is going on in this life, because it is not merely knowledge for knowledge sake.  I think that in our cases, it is knowing in order to know how to live properly, how to behave in society, what it means to be a social being.
And this search and this knowing gives rise to chemical reactions in the brain and I seriously believe that our interconnection in this cosmos, this organic cosmos, is chemical as much as it is verbal or tactile.  In other words, when people talk about “vibes” I think that it is absolutely true.  So it could be, that one’s own changes, one’s own search, has a huge ripple effect around oneself and that when a certain threshhold of “ripples” is reached, then the paradigm of understanding begins to change.  It could be that it is beginning.
Anyway, what is quite clear is that we desperately need each other as human beings and cannot be human without each other.
Which is why I find the way of looking at the world and others as “the Other” and “the enemy” as being so self defeating.
I should add one more thing – we must remember that the efforts that go into brainwashing our minds – and yes, beginning with school – but including today the media/entertainment is  huge and beyond our scope of seriously understanding it.  But for this reason I do not have a Television set these past twenty years and only go to select movies.  And read of course.
By the way I am dyslexic and have an associative brain – Isaiah Berlin’s Hedgehog brain.  Which means I do not think sequentially when on automatic!  And I think this is how I have by passed so much of the brainwashing.  It would be interesting to know if such a brain is a characteristic of rebels!!
Cheers,  Lynda

Madeline Bruce wrote:
I think what it all boils down to is how people interact with one another.  If we can see and understand and intuit how one person interacts with one other person, we can extrapolate that to see what is going on, period.  Is one person dominating in the interaction?  Are they using manipulative language?  How do you feel when this person speaks to you?  Uneasy?  Good?  Suspicious?  We have instincts.  They are powerful.  Or they can be powerful.  Some Jewish people left Germany very early in the process of the Holocaust.  Dr. Fritz Perls, the founder of Gestalt Therapy, for one.  In a lecture of his he told us that his medical colleagues laughed at him and called him paranoid.  So having the courage to be ourselves, the courage not to conform, and the courage to follow our own instincts allows us to see and understand what is going on.  Dr. Perls wrote, “The sound of the voice is the message.”  Listen to a speech by Adolph Hitler.  What is the message in his voice?  The message is mechanical slaughter and tyrany.  Now think of the voice of Victor Borge, the Danish humorist/pianist.  His voice is warm, humourous, loving, playful.  The message is richly human. Perls said that there are only 2 kinds of people in the world – toxic, or nourishing, and you can tell which kind they are after spending 10 minutes with them, by how you feel – warmed or chilled, nourished or drained. – Madeline Bruce, Nanaimo, B. C.

Steve Campbell wrote:
This interview goes into much of what is wrong with the educational system.

Interview-John Taylor Gatto-Author 
The Underground History of American Education
Part 1
Part 2

I had the pleasure of reading this magnum opus several summers ago.
One can read it online, from the library, or if you wish, purchase it and his other books at 
[ Excellent article from the above website: “Against School“:
-rkm ]

Diana Skipworth wrote:
We are powerless impotent beings?
Well, if you think you are a 3-dimensional-world, animal — absolutely correct.
To the extent:  “the one who drives the car IS just the machine, and only the machine and can never “be” anything else”  This logic works.
For me, I am not a 3-dimensional-world, animal– whatsoever!
I am the Being, which operates the vehicle.  I am infinite and exist in every dimension for eternity.  The human animal (machine) is a dumb vehicle.

Thomas Schley wrote:
Lynda has brought up very good questions.  Richard, I agree with what you say about our education today, there is also the aspect of education dumbing us down rather than always feeding us too much.  Often students aren’t challenged so end up being first bored, then finally are numb to the world so much that they shut down inwardly to where they no longer can ask those questions.

laurence wrote:
I suspect there is more than one answer to why so many individuals do not seek to understand.
Let’s name a few: personality structure and non conscious priorities, life history, context, culture, fear, overload, etc…
  Some time ago I read an article explaining how our brain makes use of heuristics in order to save time and energy in ordinary situations. Heuristics may become a trap when sommeone is overloaded and lacks the energy to start searching for new information, new answers, new insights. Our present modern urban way of life tends to saturate poeple’s minds, it is a real vicious circle… How could those people break free from this deadly trap?

Brian Bejarano wrote:
Interesting take on ‘understanding’, which reflects my own search for it, something it has been driving inside of me ever since I became a young lad. Incidentally, it also brings to mind something I heard in one of the Zeitgeist movies, I think it was the Addendum where Khrisnamurti talks about “….we ourselves need to become the teacher, the pupil, the guru, the master,…everything…it all depends on you……because understanding is to change what is”. Which, by the way, leads me to my wondering after reading the article below about the Zeitgeist movement: 
Is this a viable, feasible goal? From what I understand about it, it’s a total, complete redesign of a society, hard to grasp and comprehend I know from where we stand presently, muddled deep inside a corrupt society.
  What do you people think of this movement as an alternative for a better world?
Hi Brian,
I think the Venus project is both idiotic and dangerous. It’s idiotic in the sense that it says we need still more science and technology as a solution to our problems that have been caused by too much science and technology. And its economic ideas are total nonsense.
It is dangerous in that it proposes global rule by unaccountable social engineering technologists.
It’s a mixture of the worst parts of communism and Plato’s Republic.

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