Posted in Books, Inspiration

Bandler on Understanding

Excerpted from Using Your Brain for a Change, by  Richard Bandler:

Understanding is a process that is vital to survival and learning. If you weren’t able to make sense out of your experience in some way, you’d be in big trouble. Each of us has about three pounds of gray matter that we use to try to understand the world. That three pounds of jelly can do some truly amazing things, but there’s no way it can fully understand anything. When you think you understand something, that is always a definition of what you don’t know. Karl Popper said it well: “Knowledge is a sophisticated statement of ignorance.” There are several kinds of understanding, and some of them are a lot more useful than others.

One kind of unerstanding allows you to justify things, and gives you reasons for not being able to do anything different. “Things are this way because … and that’s why we can’t change anything.” Where I grew up, we called that a “jive” excuse. A lot of “experts'” understanding of things like schizophrenia and learning disabilities is like that. It sounds very impressive, but basically it’s a set of words that say, “Nothing can be done.” Personally, I’m not interested in “understandings” that lead you to a dead end, even if they might be true. I’d rather leave it open.


Dane Dormio is an online tutor and academic coach who specializes in helping all types of students achieve life and academic success, especially homeschooled students and those preparing for STEM careers. More information and resources can be found on his website at

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s