Friday, July 16, 2010

Instrumental vs Relational

I really dislike reading papers and books put together by intellectuals. Words for the sake of words bug me. It's good to challenge your thinking, but a lot of documents put together by intellectuals seem to only challenge your thinking if you think hard enough to figure out the language they use, and then what they're trying to say.

Unfortunately uni love these kinds of documents. I was reading one of them today for maths curriculum and the author referred to this idea of instrumental understanding and relational understanding. I won't try and explain it here, I kind of struggled my way through it. But it made me think about relationships with other people and how the internet could be considered a tool that provides us with instrumental understanding. We learn about each other through emails, blogs, facebook, online dating services. It's the quick way to build a picture, but it's not the full picture, it's only a tiny glimpse of the picture and the picture someone wants us to see.

Relationships the way they should be are based on relational understanding. Sounds kind of obvious but I think the internet prevents us from gaining this kind of understanding of other people. I've fallen into the 'trap' - not that I'm blaming the internent, I'm the one who decided to use it!!

Where to from here? Stop writing on my blog? Stop using facebook? Remove my profile from the sites I've signed up to? I don't necessarily think I need to do that at this point, but perhaps limit my use of them, and focus on trying to gain better 'relational' understanding of others, outside of the internet.

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