An essay on Understanding (or, understanding for an Understanding of UNDERSTANDING)
For the proper philosophical discussion about any particular thing, the identification of the thing itself is more important than the word used to refer to it: A word is merely a tool used to approximate the meaning of a concept, thus enabling an expedient means to refer to that concept in conversation or writing. In a way, this conventional approximation of conceptual meaning highlights the purpose of Philosophy, which I define here as the unmotivated, uncompromised expression of the innate need to Understand. And, Understanding is perhaps the most important concept to philosophise about—which I define here as the pure and thorough attempt to clarify the essence and significance of a thing. Thus for this essay, a cluster of related ‘things’ I consider worthy of discussion are most closely approximated by the word ‘understanding’, with each of these things representing a particular aspect of that concept, thereby being a different sense of its meaning. Hence, I will use the word ‘understanding’ in multiple senses, supported by my definition of each one; and by which I attempt to describe these particular aspects of Mind and Life.
In the third and final part of this article series, I describe four notable aspects of books; followed by various methods for assimilating information and thoughts generated through book-reading; whilst including examples and photographic samples throughout for illustration.
As someone who began to read books regularly for the purpose of intellectual stimulation, I naturally discovered various ways to improve my conduct of book-reading towards higher degrees of efficiency. In this article, I describe the principles and methods derived from my experience in book-reading, which I offer for the potential benefit of similarly oriented individuals. Essentially, these principles and methods* concern the effective assimilation of information and thoughts from one’s reading experiences. However, as individuals tend to differ in their purpose for reading and capabilities of assimilation, factors of and methods for assimilating literature can apply differently on an individual basis—hence, the methods here are offered as tips for anyone who regularly reads literature; or at the least, as a stimulant to one’s thoughts on ways to make more effective use of their literature and more efficient use of their reading time.