Saturday, January 8, 2011

Green turtle symbiosis: Curiosity abt the relationship btwn understanding, being understood & creating, & feeling not understood vis-a-vis culture

... am curious about the relationship between understanding, being understood and successfully creating things, and feeling not understood vis-a-vis culture. Parents can understand what babies need in every way, and are a baby's first culture ... A baby creates its first things in this cultural milieu of understanding. Why not generate great understanding about other people's resource needs, & create abundance?

... is this a form of love ... ?

Digital Public Library of America ( might be one example, and is another ... but surely there are an abundance of such creative possibilities (to world poverty, for example) ... One Laptop per Child ( is another good example ...

but emotionally & financially?

JM (friend):

Scott, since when has being understood equated to successfully creating things? Aren't so many successful creators misunderstood in their lifetime? Isn't the desire to be understood, on a certain level, merely a manifestation of fear and ego? Now, let me answer my own question, kinda: I heard a radio report out of Haiti today, and a Haitian said, really compellingly, that the international aid community was not understanding what Haiti needed two years after the earthquake: "We have the vision to realize our goals, but not the resources." Perhaps this is what you mean.


JM! Thanks for your thoughts. In my experience,when I've felt most understood, I've also found great creativity. It's how to cultivate such understanding when it's minimal that I wonder about. Quakers and the Kinderspeisung in the early 1940s is another example, for which some Friends' organizations (AFSC & the British Friends Service Council) won the Nobel Peace Prize, to add to our growing list of interesting exs. Here Friends understood what was needed and creatively made resources available in a time of great scarcity ... Cultivate understanding & creativity by modeling it? Not sure how to help in Haiti ... OLPC is there (, as one long term help ...


Positive feedback is vital for the artist, Scott! I would never deny this, as a creative person myself. But acceptance and understanding are not -- or aren't necessarily--the same thing. And I know you know that. You mention the Quakers and... I have many of them in my family tree and it is only very recently that I have begun to educate myself about this community I have always admired from a distance with the commensurate ignorance distance entails. But therer seems to be an interesting Quaker community in Pittsburgh, where I currently find myself. Sorry for the tangent. I always enjoy your posts, Scott, though they often fly above my head. Live and learn, though, innit?

LR (friend):

It's an amazing thing to be understood/seen for who you are and yes there is love there somehow, I think. Not sure how this is self-centered. It doesn't feel that way to me. It feels good, like a marvelous gift and allows me to expand into the space around me in a way that makes me to feel like I have more capacity to give to others in turn.


Not the thing itself, LR, but the need for it. Sorry if I didn't make that clear.


The desire to be understood seems like a very basic human desire. Don't think it's self-centered at all. The understood child, loved and basic emotional needs met, goes on to love others.


I agree ... but how to richly generate a culture of understanding? ... seems distant from much social reality these days ... but it does happen again and again - in families, in loving relationships, among friends ... When I feel understood, I have found myself creating richly ... (and I'd like, too, to feel more understood, in liberating ways ... :) ...

How, too, to generate cultures of affection: :) ?

JM (friend):

LR, all of what you say seems quite lovely to me, but I speak as one who has carved himself a deep hole by spending decades caring more about being understood than about being understanding. Which of course you could not know about me. Here we see the limits of communication via short burst of typed sentences. My limits, at least.



Hey FB friends! Do you have an idea of the most effective charitable organizations operating in Haiti? Particularly --- folks helping with housing or clean water? I want to donate the proceeds of my class this evening to the effort....

MK: - they've been doing structural assessments of existing buildings and training engineers in retrofitting and earthquake safe design. They also incubate local small businesses that focus on sustainable solutions to some of the country's many problems: Apart from them I recommend Partners in Health - who focus on medical care.


My friend is ver involved with And says money goes directly there for proactive work...


( - January 8, 2011)

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