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understanding

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This is a Odontotaenius disjunctus – sometimes called patent-leather beetle, or Jeruselum beetle. I found this out by posting a cropped version of this image on buguide.net, where entimologists and bug enthusiasts are very quick to help you identify beetles.I didn’t want to post an unidentified creature!

But for all this, I don’t know where this beetle is heading in the image (I can only guess based on what we know about this kind of beetle). I don’t know what or if he is thinking. I don’t know what ‘thinking’ is even like for an insect. I can’t come close to entering inside his ‘brain’ to understand him. But it seems like an awfully big world for him.

I think it is easy to assume understanding (and therefore very easy to judge other people) based on what we ourselves think. I think this is a mistake. To truly understand someone else and their opinions we have to back up in time to see where they are from, what kind of family they are from, how and where they grew up, and what experiences they have had in the past; in addition, we need to back up to the big picture and look at their current influences, ideas, ideals, and so forth; and then we also have to understand that our human language – both verbal and bodily – is limited! What means something to one person, can mean something very different to another. And time is something our culture doesn’t value – in the sense of taking lots of it. We try to summarize, move through, multi-task with our time. Accomplishment is valued much more than listening and learning internally.

I have made the mistake of miss-interpretation and judgement more often than I’d like to admit. I have to remind myself, when I start to feel frustrated or upset at someone’s statement or action, to stop and take the time: to understand, or if that isn’t truly possible, simply assume they mean well. Only then can I continue to love and care and respect that person as I should.

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