The hability to interrelate informations within more general embracing mental frames of reference.
Understanding leads to the creation of knowledge, which consists of systems of coordinated informations, which can be put to use in the following ways:
- obtain working interpretations of the significance of interconnected informations.
- discuss the validity of such interpretations.
- correct and expand already existing frames of reference.
- Use knowledge obtained in this way to seek workable alternatives on issues, to – further better design of projects and to make decisions based on well informed - choices.
There is a specific form of systemic understanding which corresponds to the use of frames of references allowing interpretations of nonlinear systems.
In relation to conversation and consensus and according to H.von FOERSTER we can only "construct our own understanding of the other's understanding" (1993, p.11 0)
We should thus have to rely on the other's agreement on what we express about our understanding of him/her… and reciprocally. This is indeed a shaky ground for reciprocal understanding and consensus… but it is the only one we have!
In a quite different vein, R. GLANVILLE also explores what we do mean by "understanding". He writes: "We are different: I can never have your understanding of your understanding, which is precisely not your understanding)" (2001, p. 145-46).
The meaning of "conversation" in Pask's sense is the reciprocal polishing of our respective understanding. Nobody can better understand anybody else without a conversation in which each one testifies how he/she understands the other's understanding.
The typical dialogue would be:
"-If I understand you well, you mean that…"
"-Well, more or less if interpreted in your terms. But what do you mean when you say that my opinion is that…?"
Of course that type of dialogue can easily become a hopeless semantic and mental circular labyrinth. This can be avoided only between good-willed people in search of sincere and useful reciprocal communication through progressive mutual spiraling adjustment.
It is however a very good cure to intolerance, fanaticism and even simple stupidity
In a still more subtle way, understanding refers to the general implicit meaning of what we are perceiving and cannot (or cannot yet), or do not want to express as knowledge in a specific language.
In KRISHNAMURTI's words: " In the interval between words, between thoughts, comes understanding and… this interval is silence unbroken by knowledge"
- 1) General information
- 2) Methodology or model
- 3) Epistemology, ontology and semantics
- 4) Human sciences
- 5) Discipline oriented
To cite this page, please use the following information:
Bertalanffy Center for the Study of Systems Science (2020). Title of the entry. In Charles François (Ed.), International Encyclopedia of Systems and Cybernetics (2). Retrieved from www.systemspedia.org/[full/url]
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