For who knows a person’s thoughts except their own spirit within them? In the same way no one knows the thoughts of God except the Spirit of God.1Co 2:11
The same, and yet so different
For years I struggled with myself. I just wanted to fit in. And so I did. At least the people kept telling me. If only you change that and become more like us in that aspect…
Because we do not know how and what people think, we think, they think just like us. A lot of thinking going on here.
But we all are wunderfully and uniquely made. Just looking around in nature helps us to see that God loves creativity and diversity. And we are more divers than we think.
On the other hand, we have a lot in common as well. If not, we would have no chance to communicate or recognize each other as equals.
But we too often forget that the differences do not stop with body features and character traits.
Let us just for a moment think about a tea pot. How would you draw the tea pot you just thought of? Is it part of Granma’s china, or your daughter’s plastik miniature set? Or something totally different? Mine is made out of glas and its cover can be reused as a cup.
How about the color red? We would most probably grab the same colored pencil, but in our minds, do our reds really look the same?
Now let’s talk about love, peace, freedom, and it becomes more than obvious that we have different concepts of all these words.
The way we learn
There are so many different ways to learn, to build those concepts that we grasp our world by. There are four great learning strategies that help us categorize and understand how profoundly different we learn.
Most people learn primarily through their senses. They see something in time and space, hear it, touch it, smell and taste it, take it apart. And learn about its function, texture, build, and so much more.
Using examples, they come up with explanations through abstracting as far as necessary for their understanding.
Some of these people learn very outwardly. They understand reality and real-world objects because they experienced it. Others learn more inwardly and understand people, feelings, even thoughts from experience. They build concepts from examples, abstractions from the real.
And we all do in part. We have to learn to interact with the physical world, and a lot of this is by examining it.
But then there is the other group. Just as with lefthanders, they consist of only 25% of humanity. And just like with lefthanders, the world is not built for them because the majority built the world. At least the part of it we built.
But how do these people think?
They go the exact opposite way from the sensors—the ones that use their senses. Instead of starting with the concrete and abstracting, they start with the abstraction and—some of them—then build the concrete or verify the concept against reality.
These people learn from books, theory, thought.
Again, some start in the outer world and search it for high level patterns and principles. While others start from their very real inner world, think about patterns and principles first, and then proof them against reality.
The latter usually do not care about what is. They are driven by logic and the question “what if”. One letter, but what a difference.
Sensory people can help with everyday, concrete problems and answer immediate questions and needs much better than intuitive people. This is what the second group is called like.
Intuitive people are much better at inventing, solving grand puzzles, discovering new theories than everyday life.
And I know that this is coarse oversimplification. But it is a great abstraction.
For my sensory readers I will give an example. Bear with me, you intuitives.
I am an inward intuitive thinker. The word thinker tells you, that I care much more about thinking than feeling. Thoughts are logical, while emotions are, well, you know.
Faith is the reality of what we hope for, the proof of what we don’t see.Heb 11:1
When I read about faith as in Hebrews 11:1, that makes total sense. Faith is trusting a concept and a reality that cannot be experienced and explained by our natural senses. The things I have faith for are more real than the contradicting manifestations in this world.
I do not care about my model not fitting reality, or what people call reality. I deeply care about the truth not manifesting. I do not despair because things are not as they ought to. I do not doubt the truth of what—in my case—the bible says.
What I fight with is my inability to bring about in the natural what I can see to be true in the spiritual. My inability, our inability, the church’s inability, you name it.
That sends me on a search of more truth, more principles that obviously are true because God tells me so to build a toolbox to be instrumental in their manifestation.
It does not send me into doubt. And if, I doubt myself, but not the principles and not God.
I therefore battle a different battle than most.
Because most people are wired so substantially different, and because the world we built around us is so much imprinted by and fashioned after the majority’s thought patterns, people tend to react with bewilderment to intuitive thinking.
Their solution to the problems we have, the communication style we cultivate: can’t you see that you are wrong? Just let me give you some real world example.
Their solution: just think like me. That will fix you.
I don’t care about the practicallity of my thought models. I care about their consistency and beauty. And if somebody else can take them and make something great out of them, great. It would be fair if he would acknowledge the source.
This can pose some real problems. If I see a principle in the bible, that suffices for me. I am now ready to teach it, because I already draw strength from its beauty. Life makes more sense because of it. Yet people tend to want me to life it out first in my own life before believing me, because they learn from the example.
James tells us that faith without works is dead, you could now answer. And I agree. My works: to teach. To bring the principles of God into this world. To create using words. For sensory people, this is far too little and too abstract. I am working on it.
Yet this difference has one goal. It has us work together. Where I fail on repetitive tasks and real-world problems, others thrive. Where they often get stuck in tradition and the known, I come up with novel ideas. And then I need them to implement them.
Nobody of us can do it on his own. Let us value each other higher because of that. Some equip and others act upon. What a great principle.
The greatest error is to believe that people who do not function like most are broken, or not even acknowledging that there are differences.
The second error is to try to blend in. For so long I tried to be less heady, communicate in simple real-world examples. I tried small talk and emotions. It was a constant fight. God somehow did not help me become what I was not planned to be.
And I missed conceptual discussions. Don’t tell me that’s just talking for talking’s sake. It’s learning, growing, even bringing humanity forward.
Where do you try to blend in? Understand me right, this is no cop out so you do not have to grow into a godly lifestyle. It is a mean to become all that God wants you to be. Will we make mistakes and have misconceptions? For sure. But we have the Holy Spirit and other godly people around us.
How do you think, feel, learn?