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Eric's Sunday Sermon; Understanding, A Two Way Street

Holding degrees in philosophy and Law. Formal studies or certificates or degrees in business, theology, insurance and security. Ex-preacher.

Understanding How to Ride a Bike

Begin slowly.

Begin slowly.

We Begin

Is understanding over rated? Is it worth the effort to understand our fellow man? Should we try to explain and try to learn, to understand. There are people to understand and there are things to understand. Let us have a look.

The finest teachers are those still learning from the pupils. The Adult Child who teaches the father and the father who still teaches the adult child. The small child teaching his mother and the mother instructing his learning. When does the learning and understanding stop? Perhaps at the trillions of microbes in our bodies or the trillions of stars in the universe. Certainly not at any given age.

But there are always the anomalies. Some folks just stop learning. It is my understanding that those folks are more likely candidates for dementia. Probably that has some accuracy to it, but only as a general rule. At any rate we conclude that stopping the quest for understanding is unhealthy for mind and body.

Perhaps it is important here that we emphatically state that understanding does not mean agreeing. Of course it is obvious that disagreeing before understanding is bad stuff. If you are not going to try to learn and understand then you need to keep your little judgments to yourself.

I was having a discussion with a man the other day. He was basically arguing for a group. When I asked him the origins of the group and what the name stood for he did not know. It was different than what he had thought. But while he actually listened he could not release himself from his prior conclusions without investigations. “Learn first – decide later.” The reverse order causes disorder and lack of understanding. Assumptions are necessary in logic. But assumptions about people are probably invalid. Sure if we walk down a big city alley in a high crime area and meet a large man with a knife we can assume he means us harm. But hopefully that is not your day-to-day scenario.

I would hope that you are following me. But normally I write these sermons for you to come to understand via your own questioning of, what are quite often assumptions, repeated until just plain accepted, even though a high probability that it is wrong. We can see that we all do that. Makes you wonder what a “trusted” source really is.

Get Her Done

In The Middle of Nowhere

Nowhere can be somewhere.

Nowhere can be somewhere.

Understanding or Translation

I like gossip and rumors. I learned a long time ago that the person gossiping and spreading rumors tells us more about themselves than who or what they speak of. And no I do not hold the gossiping against them, I think I understand some of what causes the disorder. I actually think about it and look around for understanding. It generally is an attention getter to alter a social and emotional state of a person. Think of ignored children acting out because negative attention is better than no attention. Like the notion that apathy/indifference are the opposites of love and not hate or anger. So the gossiper needs the attention. The bigger the whopper of white lies the more attention. What does that say about the average listener of such? We hope most would blow it off or seek true understanding.

Now here is a man all dirty and grimy. Sweat marks on his clothes. And a sweat ring just above his waist line. And he is at the bodega buying beer at 3pm. Probably kind of stinks. Well did I describe a homeless man? Or did I just describe a construction laborer of some type. Probably a carpenter based on the sweat line from his belt with pouches. And they usually get off in the heat of the day after starting at 6am. However if either was the case would I judge without understanding. My wife works around construction, she would understand. My son would not understand. Much or most understanding comes from experience. I hope you do not have to experience our fellow in the alley. But really he is just a cook out for a smoke in back of the restaurant.

Languages are awesome. Different ones lead to a whole area of searching for understanding. Did you know there is a huge difference between a translator and an interpreter? A translator simply changes the words from one language to another. Of course understanding both languages is paramount to doing it right.

Ah, but the interpreter she explains the meaning of something. If I know the culture and a bit of the language a translator will due in real time. But someone who can simultaneously interpret now that person has understanding of culture, idioms, usage, and subtleties of both languages. Generally speaking Second language peoples and algorithms simply translate. Check out a translator into English. Sorry but you need an interpreter. There is Canadian, Australian, British and American English and cultures. Translation would not know the difference really. A boot could be a cowboy boot made in Bogota. (By the way a New England to Southwest United States will be a whole other interpretation.)

Such is our life. We can simply go through life translating or we can go interpret the meaning of people, circumstances and places and things. We can strive to understand. No, let me restate that; We must strive to understand.





Brand New

Now I study politics a fair amount. I study it from different sides and perspectives. Sorry but you can have a discussion or argument with me but I just cannot get emotional about it. To me it is logic and not persuasion. Kind of ruins it for most people. How much should we spend? How much should we tax? What and how much should we regulate? When do your priorities and rights conflict with mine in a logical way? Sorry emotions are great but really interfere with understanding. Not that we should not understand emotions.

Nagging. I understand full well the message and cause of nagging. I probably can and do not want to do that which is being nagged about. I basically agree but I don’t want to do it and the tone being directed at me is offensive. A full understanding on both sides and yet conflict still arises. That shows us the limitations on understanding. Someone said that “familiarity breeds contempt.” That may be true to an extent.

You want more freedom and I want more control. That is a fight brewing. Unless both sides understand each other’s position and reasoning. But respect is required for if there is only contempt then understanding only helps the party that understands the most. In an Art of War principle it is basically that understanding your enemy is the best weapon of all.

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Stop. Look. Listen. Probably some of the best advice ever given. How often do we fail to really stop our opinions, look someone in the eye, and really listen? Funny thing there. If you are really busy going about things you have more opportunity to look and listen to others because you are around them so much. Yet the person with the slower mindset has more opportunity. Numbers versus time.

Now it is time for my walk. I understand so much about nature. But this morning I will leave my understanding at home. It is time I took a fresh look. For I understand that seeing things anew and in wonder is the best understanding of all.


Linda Crampton from British Columbia, Canada on November 27, 2020:

"The finest teachers are those still learning from the pupils." I strongly agree with that statement. You've created yet another thought-provoking article, Eric. Your Sunday Sermons are educational as well as interesting.

Eric Dierker (author) from Spring Valley, CA. U.S.A. on November 19, 2020:

Mary I hope I got back to you on this. Thank you for your interesting comment

Mary Norton from Ontario, Canada on November 17, 2020:

Understanding is quite complicated and even though we want to be more understanding of others, so much in our background, culture, and experience are in the way of that. This often happens to me being in the midst of people who are from a totally different background and experience that I have. There is so much need for better understanding these days.

Mr. Happy from Toronto, Canada on November 16, 2020:

"Assumptions are necessary in logic." - I really try not to. "Assumptions" can land one on a whole different trail then the one they thought they were hiking.

"Sure if we walk down a big city alley in a high crime area and meet a large man with a knife we can assume he means us harm." - You know ... that could be me. I sometimes do have my Ka-Bar and I am often in "high crimes areas". It's where I live and I like dark alley-ways. Haha!! Do not fear though.

Funny video. Well funny because I remember talking to a Jamaican lady about how I do not see many black people on ski hills. She laughed!!! Then, we talked about that movie. True though: not many black people skiing but should we assume that we will just not see black people on ski hills? Not in my opinion.

"A translator simply changes the words from one language to another." - That would be a bad translator though. A good translator does not translate verbatim. A good translator knows how to also interpret, in order to change words in such a way that the meaning is translated as close as possible and not the actual words. I can go on here a bit as I had to learn four different languages and when speaking to my sister, we speak a mixture of Romanian, English and French. Knowing to translate properly is a must lol

"Sorry emotions are great but really interfere with understanding." - Everything stems from emotions: laws, morals, actions, etc. all come after our emotions. So, we act according to emotions but we cannot act emotionally. Emotions have to be sifted through the strainer of logic. There is the HUGE difference which I do not see many people make. Emotions move me as the wind in the sails of a ship but I do not act emotionally. I act with logic and practicality, just like a ship is built with logic and practicality but needs the Wind to move. Both are needed and exist. We just need to know how/when to use them.

Fun sermon. Thank You and all the very best!

Denise McGill from Fresno CA on November 16, 2020:

I think I understand. I am open to listening and trying to understand my fellow man and if I cannot agree with him/her, I can at least understand the point of view.



Eric Dierker (author) from Spring Valley, CA. U.S.A. on November 16, 2020:

Thanks Raymond. I enjoy ones like this. It is fun to try to makes sense of intricate matters. I really appreciate you reading and leaving a note.


Raymond Philippe from The Netherlands on November 16, 2020:

Eric, I enjoyed reading your article on listening, learning, seeing and understanding. I enjoy the way you connect the different observations you make.

Ann Carr from SW England on November 16, 2020:

Thank you, Eric, that's kind of you to say so.


Eric Dierker (author) from Spring Valley, CA. U.S.A. on November 16, 2020:

Thank you Ann this was a fun one to write. I hadn't much thought on it before. Certainly my youngest has taught me so much by telling me what he senses.

Your knowledge and use of words have lead me to a better understanding -- words/life?


Eric Dierker (author) from Spring Valley, CA. U.S.A. on November 16, 2020:

Peggy you just made me realize that in a real sense that phrase "look both ways" can really apply to life. Thank you much for your comment.

Ann Carr from SW England on November 16, 2020:

Such wisdom, Eric. Looking at things afresh is what I do through the eyes of my grandchildren, especially the youngest (2). They have no preconceptions.

I've said for ages that one has to interpret not just translate; words mean so many different things in one language, let alone two or more! I often hear mistakes made by those who are translating on tv - how many misunderstandings go unchecked at crucial political meetings?

I enjoyed this; it made me laugh, it made me think, it made me listen...


Peggy Woods from Houston, Texas on November 16, 2020:

Stop, look, and listen is advice that we learn early when crossing a street. It applies to so much more as you have aptly described in this post. Hearing is not the same as listening, just as translators and interpreters are different. I enjoyed your article!

Eric Dierker (author) from Spring Valley, CA. U.S.A. on November 16, 2020:

Manatita my friend your comments are always so nice to get. I was wondering what helps me see more clearly. Certainly the more we know somehow effects our clarity.

Eric Dierker (author) from Spring Valley, CA. U.S.A. on November 16, 2020:

Thank you Linda. Yes I changed the timing of these to adjust to commenting from readers.

I do not understand about FB and I do not know what a "feed" here is. Oh well I get to learn new stuff, maybe it will help me find my car keys :-)

manatita44 from london on November 16, 2020:

We all have something to say, but we are mostly, if not always, doing it for ourselves. Protective? manipulative? Scheming? Quien sabes?

I'd rather be with Jimmy Cliff out there in those beautiful fields, singing with purpose ... meaning and intensity, that I can see clearly now the rain is gone ... peace.

Linda Lum from Washington State, USA on November 16, 2020:

Eric, Facebook is easy-peasy. You should give it a try. I'm glad I was able to find this before it got snatched up to you-know-where. Have a great week my friend. I'll "see" you tomorrow with another article.

Eric Dierker (author) from Spring Valley, CA. U.S.A. on November 16, 2020:

Wow Bill what a great walk this morning just the local neighborhood inspection. I need a Maggie.

I am sorry to report that the morning walkers that popped up during the quarantine times have mostly quit. bummer.

I was thinking of face book. I think most authors here post there when publishing. We could meet there and comment. Just a thought. I should learn about FB before concluding.

Bill Holland from Olympia, WA on November 16, 2020:

Amen, brother! I can't think of anything to add to this sermon. It's so easy to listen. It is harder to be willing to understand what you are hearing. And to think, we have millions of people who would do well to internalize this message. Sigh!

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