Wooaa…What is this?
It’s weird and it moves and it’s strange and it moves when I want it to and woaa… I might be the one moving it. What is it. I can see it. I can’t hear it or can I. I can feel it sort of. It doesn’t smell right now…but it’s still strange. If I can move it I wonder if I can…
A child relatively new in this world is in a constant state of exploration. Their brains are developing rapidly and their attempts to “understand” the world in which they exist is often done with all the senses. Sight, Sound, Smell, Touch, and Taste. The baby is attempting to ‘Grok’ its hand. And it could be said that the act of coming to an understanding reaches a climax at the point when the child places the strange thing into its mouth. Here the child can simultaneously see that it is attached to its arm, hear the sound of saliva against skin, catch smells of whatever it last held, feel the intricacy of the thing against its teeth and lips, and finally taste that which the child may one day call a hand.
There is something important about fully engaging as many senses as possible with anything that you are trying to understand. The Martian concept of ‘Grokking’ as presented by Robert Heinlein takes the concept of understanding to another level and perhaps connects with the childish draw to engage all of your senses in the effort. To fully understand another individual and all of their experiences in the Martian tradition requires that after an individual dies “his friends eat what he no longer has any use for, ‘grokking’ him, as mike would say and praising his virtues as they spread the mustard”
I am not recommending cannibalism on any level or for any reason. Rather simply reflecting on the interesting correlation between our childish fascination with putting things in our mouth as we try to make sense of them and Heinlein’s depiction of a Martian tradition to accomplish the same thing after an individual’s ‘corporate’ life has come to an end. The both share an engagement of all our senses in an attempt to reach ‘fullness’ or come to a complete understanding. As we augment our intellect and reality with technology are we unable to fully engage our senses and does that limit the understanding we can reach?