Grok

Robert Heinlein wrote 50’s science fiction which I devoured as an adolescent. For a while he became a countercultural icon for Stranger in a Strange Land, the story of a naive young man from Mars who could not comprehend (“Grok”) anything. An innocent, sweet, rational person. Of course, this simply channeled similar traveler-from-afar social critiques popular since before the French Revolution.

Today, I realize that I no longer need to travel through space to visit an incomprehensible civilization. Time travel _ in the guise of years passing and me growing old _ has delivered me into a culture that I can hardly “grok”.

I disregard the technological marvels. All the best satires and novels always did. The strangeness is in the attitudes and habits of people. I have great difficulty grokking the fact that people incredibly wealthy and free feel so angry and victimized. That well-educated folks nearly in control of the world are reverting to feral behaviors. Oh, I could go on, but the complaints are common enough among the elderly to be quite well known.

So I sit in my living room, stranger in a strange land, in amazement and incredulity at the social behaviors around me. I just do not grok at all.

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