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Thread: Understanding

  1. #1

    Exclamation Understanding

    This is not about diapers, as we have a thread for that ("Why do we expect others to be understanding?").

    People in this world may understand you. People in this world may not.

    Just last night, I was having a discussion and I flatly and bluntly said that I anticipate the bulk of my work, thoughts, and purpose will only be understood after I have died. This doesn't necessarily bother me; it is just how these things tend to unfold.

    I started thinking through the statement behind the words and believe it correct. I have had numerous bosses in life, one of whom I would say marginally "understood" the thrust of my work and my orientation towards it (security & network stuff). But this post isn't really about the working world, per se. I have met one human being with whom I have "clicked" and felt an instant connection. But this post isn't really about human relationships either.

    In a larger sense, I suspect that I will continue to be a "black horse," especially in circles where it is vital to engage in gamesmanship and petty disagreement, even in the face of obvious truth and revelation. I am not bothered by this--as the other side of it is to be unable to look myself in the mirror every day and know that I'm a genuine person--but I now stop to wonder.

    How many of you (out there in TV-land) hold a similar view? Perhaps more to it, how far are you willing to go (or not go) to contort to the larger world around you? Is this something that has crossed your mind before, and if so, is there any going back?

  2. #2

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    As a junior member of the academy, I too have suffered from the (dare I say) institutional constipation that inevitably follows the tenured crowd. First it was "this is not our discipline." When they couldn't make that argument with a straight face, after my having spent six months convincing them, it was "that's not the kind of work in our discipline that we do in this department." At no point has anyone actualy questioned the foundations or correctness of my theories or work, but expanding beyond the narrow front that the discipline has been working with is haram around here. The one guy who was doing what I want to do didn't get tenure. Now he's on the Council of Foreign Relations. Gee, so long as the integrity of the field is preserved, or at least its illusions.

    My response, I'll pursue the same work with the same objective in mind but at a different institution . They don't want me, I don't want them, so this will work out for everyone. It was suggested to me by several persons that I could change my focus. But I didn't pick this field to study things I'm not interested in, and I refuse to do what everyone else is doing just because they want me to do it. Not to mention the fact improvements are made by innovation, not repetition. I have no illusions, and I have to do what I think is promising to preserve my integrity and my future.

    h3g3l, good for you.

  3. #3

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    Well, h3g3l, as your sig more than adequately states, being an intellectual is tough right now. Has been for quite some time. I don't necessarily consider myself a savant or anything - I'd say my intelligence as far as book smarts go is about average, maybe a little above. And the world as a whole right now is in a sorry state. The media rules over the mindless masses that swallow anything they're fed without trying to put any real thought into it, simply because it's easy. As they say, ignorance is bliss. So the less ignorant among us always have been and always will be subject to a less blissful life, simply because we refuse to accept the false realities thrust upon us, choosing instead to use the wonderful gifts that reside within our skulls to forge our own paths and create new frontiers.

    Progress is never painless, and change never comes without sacrifice. If the smarter few must suffer the taunts and harsh comments of the ignorant masses so that the world can change for the better, then so be it.

    But we'll be the ones with our names in the history books.

  4. #4

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    An interesting topic, h3g3l! Can always count on you for good-natured contemplation and discussion!

    I either a) never care if I'm understood, or b) never intend to think in such a way that causes me to be misunderstood. I simply do not think that big. While I am convicted in what I believe, I am rarely in an atmosphere where my ideals, thoughts, or concepts are unique enough to merit posthumous evaluation. If I'm going to leave anything behind for people to understand, it would be my writing, and I've never written allegorically or symbolically. I write for the love of a story, and because they are fantastical and unrealistic stories, (I intend for them) to speak in such a way that is universally understood.

    If anybody were to read my books (and I can only hope that somebody someday says, "Hey! These are good! Let's publish these!", because until then, all I have are dusty manuscripts), there would be nothing to analyze. They are meant to tell a story, and if they do anything else ... that's up to the reader.

    I'm not an outsider, nor do I feel like one. I don't intend to be. I tried too hard for too many years to be one before I realized that it's not something you simply choose. And if you are an outsider? May your legacy speak bountifully of you -- we all have stories to tell, and sometimes, only the popular ones get heard.

  5. #5

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    Quote Originally Posted by Dawes View Post
    If I'm going to leave anything behind for people to understand, it would be my writing, and I've never written allegorically or symbolically. I write for the love of a story, and because they are fantastical and unrealistic stories, (I intend for them) to speak in such a way that is universally understood.

    If anybody were to read my books (and I can only hope that somebody someday says, "Hey! These are good! Let's publish these!", because until then, all I have are dusty manuscripts), there would be nothing to analyze. They are meant to tell a story, and if they do anything else ... that's up to the reader.
    Writing for the love of a story resonates with people and creates a very special and unique kind of imagery.

    I imagine that Rod Serling had this same kind of attraction; coupled with your notion of being "universally understood," we have a series of stories that transcend cultural and generation gaps and are easily grasped. Not all these stories (I'm talking about "The Twilight Zone" series) necessarily have clear-cut messages; some of the best stand on their own merit as just observations about mankind.

    This could get much darker as I'm in a pretty bad place right now, but I'll leave it as it stands here.

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