People have struggled to define the word “grok”, a word coined by Robert A. Heinlein in his 1961 novel Stranger in a Strange Land. I will take a stab as well. “Grok” is a continuation of the concept often expressed by traditional Shaman and spiritual Mystics, which means, more or less, to fully incorporate a piece of knowledge into your personality, both intellectually and emotionally. I find this a very useful concept, especially in this time of information overload, fake news, and information pollution. If you cannot fully incorporate a piece of information, eliminate all internal conflicts and dissonance associated with its consequences, then you haven’t yet fully understood it. You don’t yet “get it”.
The story told by Mike Williams, Chief Electronics Technician on the Deepwater Horizon, as dramatized in the recent movie Deepwater Horizon helps to grok the need for regulations. It helps one to understand the role of greed in many disasters and to lay bare its destructive qualities. It helps one to feel it.
It is foolish to believe that industry, guided only by its bottom line, will ever adequately regulate itself. To fully grok this concept, watch the movie.