• The act of understanding // Part 1

    What is it to understand? To grasp a concept put forth by someone other than oneself? Is there even such a thing as ‘complete understanding’, ‘total perfection’, and ‘absolute flawlessness’?

    To fully understand an act is not to solely understand the task itself, but rather all the variables, be that first, second, or third party. For example, if someone were told to collect a glass of water for said person, that person must firstly display a basic level of understanding, meaning, the person needs to understand that the glass is ‘there’, and must be collected and bought back to the requestor.

    However, despite the basic instruction being registered and ‘understood’ by the mind, it should be considered that this fundamental level of understanding can be found in almost all earthly organisms, and is nothing to be congratulated upon. A typical human being however, is more than capable of exceeding this basic (first level) understanding. Most people process second and third levels of understanding on a daily basis, second level understanding being the emotional aspect, such as an analysis of motives, morals, and personal favour. This level of understanding allows for a person to question his or her tasks, giving them a conscience and the capability to react to an event, and therefore requiring a third level of understanding, which is that of basic observation.

    Putting these three levels of understanding into perspective then helps construct a small triangle of understanding, in which compared with all the missing links, soon becomes rather insignificant and superficial.

    By using the ‘glass retrieval’ scenario as an example, it quickly becomes apparent that for even such a deceivingly basic task, its full understanding can prove to be extremely challenging.

    ‘Why am I getting this?’
    ‘Who is this for?’
    ‘Why does that person want this?’
    ‘How should I respond to the request?’

    Questions such as these run through a persons mind within the span of 0.2 of a millisecond, 82 percent of which are filtered out and subconsciously deemed ‘irrelevant’ to the situation. This is why, despite the ‘above average’ levels of human perception and understanding, mistakes are still made.

    Deconstructed, and simply put, the variables are neglected in post-analysis and only rise again when a dismissed ‘low priority’ variable comes back into context via (usually negative) physical contact. (Such as if the glass carrier tripped on a rock) Only then does that person question the role of the rock and its relation with his or her task at hand. With only 30 percent of the human mind active at most times, it is understandable why so little information is processed in comparison to the vast amount of information discarded.

    [END//PART 1]