GROK: to understand profoundly and intuitively“Grok in fullness” ~Valentine Michael Smith
Have you ever felt that you really just don’t fit in? Have you experienced that no matter where you are, or only a few times in your life, that this experience is outside of your comfort zone, is foreign to you? Have you gone beyond your normal levels of point of view and try to see what it’s like to be Other? Have you been a stranger in a strange land?
Can You Grok?
Published in 1961, after 12 years of writing, Robert Heinlein’s Hugo award winning book hit the shelves. Ground breaking for the time, this Science Fiction novel tackled topics that were not normally part of the literary landscape, and scathingly as it did so. Religion, philosophy of life, sexual mores, polygamy, free love (yes, very ’60s BEFORE the ’60s happened, or were just coming about: see Harlan Ellison on why he was calling his work Speculative Fiction, not SciFi), cannibalism, questioning government & authority, and God as concept or reality(outside of religion, already mentioned).
I read this sometime around when the original Star Trek hit the airwaves, and I started to see the “Can You Grok” or “Do You Grok” tee shirts. At first I thought it was something from ST, but I was told that it came from a book, by the older brother of a friend. So..what do I find the next time I go to Dr. Z and visit his bookcase (see previous entry for more on how important this was for me: The Once and Future King)…a beat up copy of Stranger in a Strange Land. Yes, I took back whatever I had been reading and exchanged it.
And, as a pre-teen/just on the verge of teenhood…wow. Talk about reading things “normally” not in my reading vocabulary. Sex, sex, and more sex. 🙂 … but, it was more than that. I didn’t/couldn’t understand the entire book at that age, but what I did took me along on a trip of trying to reach beyond myself, and trying to figure out why I felt so OTHER, even at this early an age. I’ve grown into someone who believes in being a non-conformist, who tries to Grok (I think I’m fairly intuitive),and yeah, I fails at times. I’m also not every one’s cup of tea, as I don’t follow the party line all the time, party line being a fuddy duddy grown up dull thinker with blinders on.
Accepting what is in front of you, getting rid of the judgmental portion inside of us, loving as freely as you can, to not fight new expressions of self…what’s wrong with that. Why is that Strange?
So…another book that moved me, changed me, inspired me, connected me. There are more, just like there’s music that does. Next seven to come.
Can you Grok? Have you even tried?