Verstehen is associated with the writing ofMax Weber. Verstehen is now seen as a concept and a method central to a rejection of positivistic social science (Positive School, although Weber appeared to think that the two could be united). Verstehen (ferchaen) is the use of empathy in the sociological or historical understanding of human action andbehavior.
Basically, Verstehen is taking empathy one step further. It is saying although I don't walk the walk in life you do, I will put myself in your shoes. I will listen and hear you.
An example where I would love to see this is when we discuss anything at all! This means, politics, religion, vaccines, wether I would change my child's neurology or not, wether I homeschool (or in my case definitely not), wether I buy all organic, choose gluten and casein free or not. Everything.
In having a discussion on FB (one of the rare ones where people didn't get irate over the topic of neurology I came to this realization. There has to be room at the table for all of us. We, every single one of us, need to embrace and support one another, not despite our differences in opinion but because of those differences. There is so much to be gained by actively listening to those with a different perspective. I would never ever change my kiddos neurology. But you know what? I recognize he can tell me he loves me, can tell me (most of the time) when he's ill. My son doesn't have PICA (the desire to eat not nutritive things), he doesn't smear his feces. If he did, I recognize I might feel differently. Our walks are different. Everyone's walk is different. You came to your point of view because you are uniquely you. I respect your walk.
Do I always practice what I preach? Nope. I'm trying. I'm trying really hard to remember that just because we disagree, that disagreement is not an indictment on my personhood. Feel free to remind me of this.
So let's quit calling "BS" when someone expresses a point of view we don't share. Know that my point of view isn't one of popping rainbows and unicorns. Someone else's is not that of bitterness and anger. Instead, let's take a breath, practice VERSTEHEN, look at how that other human we are sharing this world with came to their point of view, and play nice. If we do this, even just sometimes, I promise you we will be nicer human beings to be around.