Sunday, February 21, 2016

MBWS: Grok

It's been a while since we've done one of these, so I thought I'd chose a special word. This isn't just about big words in the literal sense, it's also about words that have big meanings.

There are times when we human females appreciate at least a semblance of jealousy — but I don't think there is the slightest chance that you will ever grok 'jealousy.'

Unfortunately, it's a word that is difficult to catch the meaning of from a few quotes, even if all or most of the quotes come from the writings of the man who coined the very word.

'Grok' means 'to drink.'

On the other hand, this post is somewhat self-referential, which makes it all the more fun. MBWS is not just about defining words; any dictionary does that job aptly. MBWS is about integrating the words into not just your everyday language, but your actual thought patterns. It's not enough to go mentally searching for a word, and find one of the historic MBWS words fits the criteria; it's about learning a word so thoroughly that you don't have to think about the word to use it. You just know.

He was not in a hurry, "hurry" being one human concept he had failed to grok at all. He was sensitively aware of the key importance of correct timing in all acts — but with the Martian approach: correct timing was accomplished by waiting.

If you grok something, you understand it, not on an intellectual level, or even on an emotional level, but deeper, as if you know it intuitively. It might even be almost paradoxical, to grok grok, but it's a goal I set for myself and all my readers of this series, to grok every word subjected to an MBWS post.

(All the italicized quotes above come from "Stranger In A Strange Land" by Robert A Heinlein.)

Oh, and grokking has nothing to do with drinking. That's just a metaphor.

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