From the 1961 science fiction masterpiece Stranger in a Strange Land, by Robert Heinlein, comes the word “grok.” Most of us who have been on this planet a while are familiar with the word, if not the book, which was still avant-garde in 1968 when I first read it, though, by 2000, when I re-read it, it had lost some of its shine. I wrote “boring in places, not as revolutionary as first time, yet powerful after all by the finish.”
If you are a science fiction fan, that is, of the pure old-fashioned variety and not the mixed genre we have today, you owe it to yourself to read this classic, which frequently appears on some of the myriad “best books” lists.
From Wikipedia: “To grok (pron.: /ˈɡrɒk/) is to intimately and completely share the same reality or line of thinking with another physical or conceptual entity. Author Robert A. Heinlein coined the term in his best-selling 1961 book Stranger in a Strange Land. In Heinlein’s view, grokking is the intermingling of intelligence that necessarily affects both the observer and the observed.”
From the novel: “Grok means to understand so thoroughly that the observer becomes a part of the observed—to merge, blend, intermarry, lose identity in group experience…”
Here’s a tip: the way to tell if someone is a true baby boomer/ hippy from the sixties is to ask them if they ” grok” something. If they say “What?” then they are not the real thing.
And the way to find some authentic vintage science fiction is to come to The Eclectic Reader and see this fantastic collection which just arrived. Sorry to say, Stranger in a Strange Land has already teleported out of here.