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coberst
2005-Dec-16, 09:37 AM
Understanding: The Challenge

Understanding is a concept that is difficult to communicate. Everyone knows what knowing is so it presents no problem in communication regarding what is known. This fact I think points toward the reality of ‘understanding’; it is a very personal and very subjective phenomenon.

I have recently had the experience of digging out the root system of a tree that I had cut down. I think this experience might be useful as an analogy for communicating my understanding of ‘understanding’. I would say that cutting down a tree might be comparable to ‘knowing’ and digging out the root system might be comparable to ‘understanding. Not everyone has had the pleasure of digging out tree roots but I suspect few will have any difficulty in immediately understanding the analogy.

I think that it is appropriate to describe philosophy as a domain of knowledge directed toward understanding. I suspect that understanding what mathematics is really about is very difficult but knowing addition, subtraction, division, calculus, etc. are relatively simple. I would say understanding the nature of mathematics is a matter of understanding but ‘doing’ math is a matter of skilful application of knowledge.

I suspect you could ask any engineer if s/he knows math and they would quickly reply, yes. I think they would be far more hesitant in such a reply if you asked them if they understood math. We can look out our plane window when flying over the Grand Canyon and truthfully say we know the Grand Canyon. We might spend three months living in and exploring the length of the Grand Canyon before we would be willing to say we understood the Grand Canyon.

Understanding Newton’s Mechanics is much easier, I think, than understanding Quantum Mechanics. The parameters Newton deals with are such things as distance, time, momentum, acceleration, velocity, etc., all parameters that we live with in our daily lives. From what little I know about QM no one really expresses their confidence that they understand it even though they have the knowledge necessary to predict the behavior of the phenomenon with startling accuracy.

Fram
2005-Dec-16, 09:42 AM
So?

mid
2005-Dec-16, 12:06 PM
So Understanding is a Three-Edged Sword.

Maksutov
2005-Dec-16, 12:09 PM
So, lfeggio.

coberst
2005-Dec-16, 02:55 PM
All institutions are human institutions and are designed and constructed by human brains. No school system has grown up from the ground in the sunshine. No human institution evolved in Darwin’s terms. As long as we think this way we will not try to change the status quo. The way to manipulate people is to convince people that the status quo is a natural phenomenon. A natural growth is an act of god and beyond our ability to change. All those who control our culture recognize that the way to make an institution sacrosanct is to place an aura of universality about it.

To understand anything one must find a way to step outside of that reality. To understand our culture and our institutions one must find a place to stand. It is difficult for fish to know water it is difficult for a man to know space.

weatherc
2005-Dec-16, 03:17 PM
So Understanding is a Three-Edged Sword.
Almost. Understanding is a three-edged, two-handled sword with a built-in toothpick and compass. And something about fish.

farmerjumperdon
2005-Dec-16, 03:25 PM
My fish seem to know water pretty well, or at least they seem to know it is a good place for them to be. If they by chance flop out, they appear to be doing their darnedest to get back in it.

weatherc
2005-Dec-16, 04:03 PM
My fish seem to know water pretty well, or at least they seem to know it is a good place for them to be. If they by chance flop out, they appear to be doing their darnedest to get back in it.
I'm not sure what fish know about water, but I do know that I really enjoy a good tuna steak encrusted in sesame seeds; it has to be seared on the outside (just long enough to toast the sesame seeds), and raw inside. Serve that up with some wasabi sauce, and that's some good eating.

Fram
2005-Dec-16, 04:09 PM
Almost. Understanding is a three-edged, two-handled sword with a built-in toothpick and compass. And something about fish.

Ah, that would be the Victorinox Understanding (TM). If you want the best Understanding, alsways ask for a Victorinox!

tlbs101
2005-Dec-16, 04:21 PM
My wife took a college algebra course. She got an 'A' in the class, because she could demonstrate an ability to solve the problems, but to this day she still doesn't understand the underlying concepts.

Here's the funny part: the teacher -- a college algebra teacher -- admited after the semester that it took her 4 semesters of teaching the class to finally understand the concepts (rather than just go through the motions of solving the problems).

trinitree88
2005-Dec-16, 04:26 PM
[QUOTE=coberst]Understanding: The Challenge

I have recently had the experience of digging out the root system of a tree that I had cut down. I think this experience might be useful as an analogy for communicating my understanding of ‘understanding’. I would say that cutting down a tree might be comparable to ‘knowing’ and digging out the root system might be comparable to ‘understanding. Not everyone has had the pleasure of digging out tree roots but I suspect few will have any difficulty in immediately understanding the analogy.



COBERST: In the future there are old ways of removing trees, and newer too. Farmers use dynamite for the roots,... cheap, quick. If proximity is a problem with houses nearby...use a bulldozer, or call a tow truck...the winch cable will rip them out too. Digging is arduous, slow, labor. Time is money,too. Ciao Pete.

P.S.Same thing goes for posting. Sometimes you have the time for more elaborate nuiances, and subtleties in the ideas....sometimes you don't.

mid
2005-Dec-16, 05:27 PM
Does the Victorinox Understanding have a bottle opener as well? I could murder a drink right now.

farmerjumperdon
2005-Dec-16, 08:20 PM
I'm not sure what fish know about water, but I do know that I really enjoy a good tuna steak encrusted in sesame seeds; it has to be seared on the outside (just long enough to toast the sesame seeds), and raw inside. Serve that up with some wasabi sauce, and that's some good eating.

That sounds fantastic. My favorite is blackened. I get an ordinary cast iron skillet REALLY hot on the grill. Throw in a big dollop of a concoction I make out of butter, peppers and garlic. It smokes like a locomotive (hence the need to do this outdoors). As soon as the butter is melted (takes about 5 seconds) lay in the fish. It only takes about 30 seconds per side and you've got a nice charred-on-the-outside, flaky-on-the-inside meal.

Where's the tummy-rubbing emoticon?

I'm having a hyphenated day.

weatherc
2005-Dec-16, 08:31 PM
That sounds fantastic. My favorite is blackened. I get an ordinary cast iron skillet REALLY hot on the grill. Throw in a big dollop of a concoction I make out of butter, peppers and garlic. It smokes like a locomotive (hence the need to do this outdoors). As soon as the butter is melted (takes about 5 seconds) lay in the fish. It only takes about 30 seconds per side and you've got a nice charred-on-the-outside, flaky-on-the-inside meal.
Ooooh, I gotta try that. I'm always looking for ways to use my cast iron cookware.

The tuna is as good as it sounds. You have to get the grill as hot as it will go to sear it properly. I've also had the tuna with wasabi mashed potatoes while I was on St. John USVI -- that was a great meal.

R.A.F.
2005-Dec-16, 08:33 PM
It is difficult for fish to know water it is difficult for a man to know space.

"Particularly" if one is speaking biblically. :)

Maksutov
2005-Dec-17, 05:23 AM
Ooooh, I gotta try that. I'm always looking for ways to use my cast iron cookware.

The tuna is as good as it sounds. You have to get the grill as hot as it will go to sear it properly. I've also had the tuna with wasabi mashed potatoes while I was on St. John USVI -- that was a great meal.Ah, wasabi, what a great all-purpose seasoning! The Gulden's decolloidizes in the back of the fridge while tube after tube of wasabi gets consumed.

Re fish, most people and many restaurant chefs don't seem to understand the less you cook it, the better the flavor and texture. Once it's heated through (usually less than a minute in the wok), it's done and ready to be served immediately.

Hugh Jass
2005-Dec-17, 05:37 AM
To understand anything one must find a way to step outside of that reality. To understand our culture and our institutions one must find a place to stand. It is difficult for fish to know water it is difficult for a man to know space.

I can't figure if you're advocating LSD, religion or education? Of the three education has had the best results for me.

sarongsong
2005-Dec-17, 05:40 AM
All institutions are human institutions...Church (http://www.churchofcriticalthinking.com/forum/index.php?act=Post&CODE=06&f=5&t=339&p=3957) of...what?

coberst
2005-Dec-17, 09:42 AM
Hugh

To understand anything one must find a way to step outside of that reality. To understand our culture and our institutions one must find a place to stand. It is difficult for fish to know water it is difficult for a man to know space.

The only way I know to find a place to stand is through engaging in the examined life. It is the examined life that Plato/Socrates were engaged in. It was this engagement that gave birth to philosophy. This marked the beginning of a consciousness of reason. An intellectual revolution is required. We all must find a place to stand from which we can move the world as someone said when discussing the lever system. Given a place to stand I can move the world.

Our educational system is responsible for our prosperity. It makes possible longevity and leisure time. The question is shall we use this gift to grow fat and lazy in our intellectual slumber or will we try to leave a legacy greater than one we inherited?

weatherc
2005-Dec-17, 02:12 PM
Ah, wasabi, what a great all-purpose seasoning! The Gulden's decolloidizes in the back of the fridge while tube after tube of wasabi gets consumed.Or, you can get your wasabi and mustard together. (http://www.terrapinridge.com/content/product.asp?_id=12&629.8639&) The Terrapin Ridge wasabi lime mustard is awesome on everything except desserts. I put it on tuna steaks, chicken, filet mignon, pork, vegetables -- it's incredible stuff.

sarongsong
2005-Dec-17, 02:54 PM
...The question is shall we use this gift to grow fat and lazy in our intellectual slumber or will we try to leave a legacy greater than one we inherited?Looks like fat-and-lazy is winning, based on identical verbatim responses given so far.

coberst
2005-Dec-17, 06:43 PM
When schooling is over the citizen who wishes to reach beyond naive common sense reality must develop the ability to generate questions. Questions result from a critical self-conscious intellect and depend upon the priorities of that intellect. Formal education has always furnished the learner with a question for consideration. The question asked determines the knowledge achieved and the understanding created.

The self-actuated learner must develop the ability to create questions. We have never before given any thought to questions but now, if we wish to take a journey of discover; we must learn the most important aspect of any educational process. We must create questions that will guide our travels. We can no longer depend upon education by coercion to guide us; we have the opportunity to develop education driven by the "ecstasy to understand".

Questions put effervesce in post-schooling scholarship.

sarongsong
2005-Dec-17, 07:44 PM
The exact same words you used here (http://www.the-brights.net/forums/lofiversion/index.php?t3588.html). Such spontaniety.