Dry, lifeless knowledge fails to draw people into dynamic understanding for individual and collective wellbeing. So nurture deep realization of important truths, and vitalize people and activities with arts, questions, reflections that draw people into energies and understandings that make sense of their lives and move them to wise action.
Some related patterns: 33 Feeling Heard 41 Groundedness 53 Multi-Media Engagement 64 Powerful Questions 79 Spaces for Dialogue and Collaboration 80 Story 93 Wholesome Life Learning
Bringing Understanding to Life – going Deeper …
This is an edited version of the video on this page.
The inspiration for putting this into our pattern language was the recognition that in the public sphere discussion of public issues, there are many important realities that people don’t actually understand much about. You watch the battles over issues and you realize that both sides – all sides – of any given issue are ignoring certain realities – either intentionally or just because they don’t think of it or don’t understand something. And certain people are totally disconnected from reality! (That is certainly an important thing to understand!)
How do you GET what’s really going in useful ways that you can use to think with and engage with. That’s a problem, if you’re thinking about collectively approaching our issues, situations, collective opportunities, longings, and so on, and you want to take into account what needs to be taken for long-term broad benefit (which is our definition of wisdom).
The fact that people can’t see or understand or welcome or engage with certain realities or ideas or information means that it could help if there were ways to translate those understandings so those people can say: “Oh. Suddenly this makes sense!”
Because it’s sense-making that’s going on here with this pattern. Very often it is not in the form of explanatory text. An awful lot of extremely important understandings try to get communicated through explanatory text. But I’m aware of the serious limits of that because I do a lot of explanatory text and I can see how people respond – or, rather, have trouble responding – to it. You need pictures and stories. Poetry sometimes can get at deep underlying dynamics. There are important roles for all these different ways of communicating.
The blessing and curse of multi-modal intelligence (which is another one of our patterns) is that the more different ways you can approach a particular piece of reality, the more you can understand about it. That’s fundamental to this pattern language and to the idea of wise democracy. Different people kind of specialize, they have natural inclinations and skills in different forms of intelligence: narrative intelligence, musical intelligence, bodily intelligence, logical intelligence, intuitive intelligence,… all these different kinds of intelligence. Getting them to fit together is quite a challenge, but these modes have lots of complimentarity, lots of things that they can help with that augment each other. That’s the multi-media engagement kind of thing, multi-modal intelligence kind of thing, these are other patterns in the set. All can serve this pattern of “bringing understanding to life.”
The picture on this card for this pattern is a young woman looking at the archetypal photo called Earthrise, which was taken from the other side of the moon. These moon astronauts took the picture of our planet. There’s a sense of our planet being this beautiful living entity – “a pale blue dot”, as it was once called – this Earth thing is precious compared to the barren moon. And this photograph created a shift about that. I was alive when it happened. I was alive when the first people went to space. I’ve been around for a while… ; – )
That shift in perspective was profound. Lots of people take it for granted now because pictures like that are all over the place. But it was a real shift and it brought understanding to life. Lots of people get it now, what’s going on with us and the rest of the universe.