The Reason Why Understanding is Compression and Why You Must Care v.2021–04

Photo by Tolga Ulkan on Unsplash

Proposition: Comprehension/Understanding is the ability to compress data.

Understanding something means being able to figure out a simple set of rules that explains it.

Examples

Earth

we understand why day and night exist because we have a simple model — the rotation of the earth — that explains a tremendous amount of data — changes in brightness, temperature, and atmospheric composition of the earth. We have compressed a large amount of information by using a simple model that predicts it.

Rational Numbers

Similarly, we understand the number 0.33333… by thinking of it as one-third. The first way of representing the number requires five concepts (“0”, “decimal point”, “3”, “infinity”, “infinity of 3”); but the second way can produce all the data of the first representation, but uses only three concepts (“1”, “division”, “3”).

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Ben H

🕊 Consultant, Counselor, Mediator, Facilitator, Trainer on Nonviolent Communication. 🦒