I ask the question in the title because I am curious about your answers.  I was having a conversation with my father a month ago.  We were having a lengthy conversation about a variety of things and at each turn of the conversation he revealed himself to be a bitter old cuss who clearly discounted and dismissed anything her could not understand.  Thus, I asked him: "Must you always understand something in order to enjoy it?  Or, can you enjoy something without the profound need or desire to understand it?"  The questions stumped him; he did not know how to answer, and when he tried, his answers most often avoided an answer - even the most simple yes or no.  I posit this question to you all because I have seen some remarks on here that seem to follow the logic that nothing can be enjoyed unless it is understood.  Theology need not apply to this discussion, but you are welcome to use it in the framework of your answer (though I would prefer to know your thoughts without it).

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"Must you always understand something in to enjoy it?"

No - I dont think so, I enjoyed smoking cigarettes very much before I understood why.


I am ignorant as all get out and I enjoy plenty of positive life experiences. Yes, I often enjoy what I do not understand. 

I'm not sure where you're going with this line of questioning...what are you thinking?

I enjoy a lot of music and must say that I really don't understand it.  My knowledge of music theory is fundamental at best and adds nothing to my enjoyment of music.

My point it: who cares about music theory.  It's not necessary to fundamentally understand why music is enjoyable - it just is.  Now, knowing something about it, might make you appreciate the mechanics of it, but it is not necessary to enjoy it, and I don't think one must know and understand everything in order to have any sense of fulfillment or pleasure in life - it reduces life to being too mechanical, which in turn I find, reduces a sense of meaning an purpose in life.

I also greatly enjoy 'magic tricks' that I don't understand - although I am driven to try to understand how they are done - and when I find out I am usually disappointed, ha ha.

I'm only disappointed when it turns out the 'trick' only works when the 'witnesses' turn out to be in on the scheme.

But a real magic trick, performed by a capable magician, is something I enjoy before I understand it, and enjoy even more after I understand it.

I see no problem with enjoying things I don't (fully) understand, but I tend to enjoy things even more when I do understand them.

There are lots of things that can be enjoyed without fully understanding the mechanics for why it is so enjoyable. Roller coasters, good food, a painting, being in love...

Admittedly, understanding the physics of a roller coaster, the chemistry involved in cooking, the different techniques involved in the painting, or the biochemical and psychological responses to being in love don't increase my enjoyment, but that understanding does make me appreciate it just that much more.

When I enjoy something, I am usually driven to understand it better, but my initial enjoyment doesn't require an understanding. The first time I used a computer (I won't mention what year THAT was ;) I did not understand it at all but enjoyed it immensely!

I think a lot of people are taught to fear the things they don't understand, so their possible enjoyment of of said 'thing' gets overridden by fear. Keeping an open mind is key to enjoying life and continuing your education as a human being.

Very well said!  I think you put it nicely as to where my mind points to in this topic. I really enjoy wing chun - always have and even before I started studying in myself.  There was something always beautiful about it that spoke to me.  Once I took the opportunity experience it for myself, I couldn't help but want to learn more.  It didn't matter to me how to break down the mechanics of movement and why x+y=z.  What mattered is that it did something.  However, through learning the techniques - performing them over and over, you eventually begin to understand it, and that makes you appreciate it -enhancing the enjoyment, but not necessary to enjoy it.

Well, I agree that I dont have to understand something to enjoy it.  But it can enhance enjoyment if I understand what is going on.

I think I could enjoy a rainbow even if I didn't know what produced it.

Oh, I agree with you, Ron.  I enjoy a beautiful sunset in the mountains or out on the sea, and I don't need to understand it to enjoy it, however, understanding how such a thing is created/produced can very much so enhance that enjoyment - it can make you appreciate it more.  What I was getting at, I suppose is: Is such an absolute position necessary?  It can make a person entirely miserable, which is the case for those who seem to promote such an absolutist ideal.

I enjoy debating with Theists when they try to show me some evidence for their beliefs. They never seem to accept that it is only a belief based on faith that they hold. I don’t understand why they don’t understand that. I do still enjoy the debate though especially when some eventually do come to understand it was all a delusion and become free. That is the best part – to know one more person has set themselves free from the serfdom of their religion.


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