i grok that

February 11, 2010

In the novel, “Stranger In A Strange Land,” Heinlein explains the term Grok like this:

Grok means to understand so thoroughly that the observer becomes a part of the observed—to merge, blend, intermarry, lose identity in group experience. It means almost everything that we mean by religion, philosophy, and science—and it means as little to us (because of our Earthly assumptions) as color means to a blind man.

I had a boss when I worked for a large, dysfunctional software company (oddly, my boss was ALSO large and dysfunctional) who used the word Grok ALL. THE. TIME. Which clearly, based on that last bit of the definition of the word, means he didn’t understand it.

Me: “Well, the market just isn’t that big, and we already own like 20% of it, so yes, I DO think my forecast is reliable.”

Large Dysfunctional (Jabba-the-Hut-Like) Boss, nodding sagely: “I Grok that.”

Now, I have been known to use the word Hrair on occasion. Never in conversation, never out loud, but now and again on this blog.

But really, using a word that means “more than 4” taken from a book about bunnies? That makes me adorable

Using a pretentious word taken from a pretentious book about a messianic lothario Martian, with absolutely NO nod to ironic detachment or self-awareness? That makes you a turd.


12 Responses to “i grok that”

  1. ricky Says:

    rock solid. good times.

  2. Grant Says:

    tangental comment: the best thing about Stranger in a Strange Land is that you can pick, almost to the page, when Heinlein goes from merely eccentric to completely insane.

  3. bikemike Says:


  4. Eric Says:

    I hate not being able to understand big words and stuff. I really only got the last sentence.

  5. Rob Says:

    I totally Grok this post. (belch)

  6. KanyonKris Says:

    Overuse of a misappropriated word – annoying. Good rant.

  7. rabidrunner Says:

    I imagine there’s only one dysfunctional software company in this world who had Jabba-the-Hut managing stuff. I’m pretty sure I know who’re you talking about. Do I know who you’re talking about?

    That guy scared the hell out of me on a daily basis.

  8. Alex/Watcher Says:

    That sounds like one of my bosses. I think we must have worked together at some point, maybe for a couple years, but never made eye contact. Are you an IT guy? I generally avoid eye contact with them.

    Speaking of hrair- I read WD like 30 years ago, and recently decided to start reading it aloud to my 8 yr old twins. They’ve completely lost interest (already, bunnies are stupid.) I on the other hand am enthralled, and badger them to read with me nightly. I think over the long weekend I’ll concede defeat and just go finish reading it by myself. (Probably in the garage, so they can’t make fun of me.)

  9. mark Says:

    I think you’re being subtle here. Subtle like you were being subtle with the neighbor and the dog poop post. Are you being subtle?

  10. Steve Says:

    Not a bad rant, not full of Hrakka, anyway.

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