Adam Blatner

Words and Images from the Mind of Adam Blatner

Understanding Understanding

Originally posted on May 24, 2014

Reading in the March 2014 Smithsonian an article about Carl Sagan, on p.71, he says, “I think I’m able to explain things because understanding wasn’t entirely easy for me. Some things the most brilliant students were able to see instantly I had to work to understand. I can remember what I had to do to figure it out. The very brilliant ones figure it out so fast they never see the mechanics of understanding.”

I was only slightly different from Sagan in that my ignorance and my challenge was in the arena of psychology, the interface between my understanding and my non-understanding. The mixture created an edge that I contemplated because there were discrepancies. It is through these edges that I’ve had whatever insights I’ve had.

One corollary is that perhaps others also discover through the edges between their talents and their ignorance. Perhaps we are given these interfaces to further the gradual expansion of consciousness.

When one understands deeply, there’s a loss of boundaries. Not getting it seems out of the question. When it is sincerely questioned, the mind turns to contemplating what one understands  and breaking it down a bit, and this yields much. There is even a legend mythically when in Hindu lore the great god Shiva is asked to explain the Truth to the most alluring Parvati, his consort. He replies, “It will be a great boon for all humanity that you have asked this question,” and he proceeds to lay it out—that explanation constituting the text of the Guru Gita.


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