This is a philosophical statement. It is intended to spark thinking and examining.
In some of the conversations I’ve had after last week’s post, I’m becoming present to a bit of a collapse we have of meanings in what “understanding” is all about.
To understand someone, or someone’s position, does not mean that we condone, agree with, assist, or support that position or view. Nor does it mean we capitulate, or that we have to switch our view, or that we must now stay silent and not share our views. It does not mean we cannot converse.
Understanding someone’s position also does not automatically make us have that view. It will not “turn us ” or rob us of our agency.
Understanding is about getting into someone’s world at a deep level. To get where they come from. To see what lies at the heart, and root, of their view. To get their history, experiences, observations, deductions.
Working to understand another’s view is fundamentally about broadening our own horizons. It’s about discovering the complexities in life. And it’s about respecting the other person as a human being.
Because, without a doubt, our views appear just as strange to them as theirs do to us.
As noted last week, everything makes sense inside of our heads, and this is true for us all.
And also as noted last week, getting where someone is coming from creates new windows and new possibilities. We can discover our common intentions, and come from there. It lets us share our own views and positions more effectively. Ultimately, we can better strive together to transform that which ails us.
Thus, a reminder here that there is a distinction between understanding and respecting versus condoning and agreeing.
Understanding another can only ever lead to greater possibility.