I Don’t Understand How People Don’t Understand “I don’t understand”

I don’t understand how people don’t understand the phrase “I don’t understand”. Usually, when I say it, I mean I am prepared to be persuaded regarding the thing I do not understand; my mind is receptive to all explanations. However, past experience is showing that people see this as my ‘throwing down the gauntlet’. Perhaps my questions are so stupid as to make them seem like rhetorical affronts. Like, for example, ‘I don’t understand why people get married’; I don’t mean ‘You shouldn’t get married/ there is no reason to get married”; I sincerely mean I have not yet come across an argument that convinces me to be for marriage but care enough that there is a consensus for it in the societies that I have lived in to welcome which ever present company I am addressing to give me their two cents- perhaps wanting to be persuaded to be for it is over-ambitious; maybe to at least see where other people are coming from when they make a choice to be married. Perhaps this is a bad example because it makes it seem like I am against marriage when in fact I think ‘marriage is a beautiful institution, but who wants to live in an institution?’-Groucho Marx’; at least, I don’t think I am crazy enough to be committed to one. 😀

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6 Responses to I Don’t Understand How People Don’t Understand “I don’t understand”

  1. bobdigi says:

    with regard to the marriage and status update thingies on FB, I’d certainly go for the rhetorical affront bit. feels to some extent like an implicit critique of those ‘you don’t understand’ as you align yourself with those on the other side of the aisle because the motivations behind the things ‘you don’t understand’ in these scenarios appear quite obvious (at least to me). i.e. someone would be critical of a FB status because it’s come up on their newsfeed and they don’t like it; or someone would want to get married because a lot of people feel like lonely souls and are enamoured with the concept of finding a life partner to support them and wile away (the many thousands of) hours with. not that there’s a problem with not sharing said perspectives, but they don’t seem that hard to understand – at least to me.

  2. boobsetal says:

    My aligning with one side does not automatically make me a critic of the other. It’s like saying just because I choose to study economics over geography because I do not understand it, then I must necessarily be ridiculing geography when all it is is that I don’t understand it. You may argue that it doesn’t follow because economics and geography are not opposite;if this is your line of argument then let me say neither are “single” and “married”.let me put it this way: if you look at ‘good’ and ‘bad’ being opposite then the middle is ‘neither good nor bad’. this is the starting point- on a diagram it would be the zero before you start going towards negative or positive. in our case of marriage, the ‘zero’ would be being single. with marriage being on one extreme and whatever being on the other. so the economics/geography analogy follows in so far as it demonstrates choosing one opportunity over another because you understand it more–to some people geography seems pretty obvious and must think if one can understand economics then they should also be able to understand geography so their choosing economics must be an elitist thing and therefore they must be shitting on geography (soooooo not true).

  3. bobdigi says:

    so you really don’t understand how I’d be capable of finding some Facebook status updates annoying?

  4. boobsetal says:

    you didn’t say “some”; you said you wished Facebook was entirely for staying-in-touch purposes. anyway, THAT POST WAS NOT ABOUT YOU!

    • bobdigi says:

      I didn’t think you were posting about me either until you directly referred to me in the comments. or were you talking about a different Sylvester? I don’t wish Facebook was for any particular purpose. I just don’t like the site, but find myself hanging around because my friends are all on it. in truth you’ve given me cause to think about that and I’ve concluded I should really just put up or shut up.

  5. boobsetal says:

    I realised that you fell into the group I was criticising after I noticed that Muti and yourself were thoroughly offended; then I remembered our conversations referring to the subject and brought them up as ammunition-childish or clever?; but I did not post the status with you in mind. “thumbs up” re: your last statement!

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