When you grok something, you just get it — in other words, you totally grasp its meaning. Once you grok your best friend’s sense of humor, her jokes won’t confuse you but will instead make you laugh hysterically. The informal verb grok was an invention of the science fiction writer Robert A.
Grok means “to understand”, of course, but Dr. Mahmoud, who might be termed the leading Terran expert on Martians, explains that it also means, “to drink” and “a hundred other English words, words which we think of as antithetical concepts. ‘Grok’ means all of these. It means ‘fear’, it means ‘love’, it means ‘hate’ – proper hate, for by the Martian ‘map’ you cannot hate anything unless you grok it, understand it so thoroughly that you merge with it and it merges with you – then you can hate it. By hating yourself. But this implies that you love it, too, and cherish it and would not have it otherwise. Then you can hate – and (I think) Martian hate is an emotion so black that the nearest human equivalent could only be called mild distaste.
Grok means “identically equal”. The human cliché “This hurts me worse than it does you” has a distinctly Martian flavor. The Martian seems to know instinctively what we learned painfully from modern physics, that observer acts with observed through the process of observation. Grok means to understand so thoroughly that the observer becomes a part of the observed – to merge, blend, intermarry, lose identity in group experience. It means almost everything that we mean by religion, philosophy, and science and it means as little to us as color does to a blind man.
The Martian Race had encountered the people of the fifth planet, grokked them completely, and had taken action; asteroid ruins were all that remained, save that the Martians continued to praise and cherish the people they had destroyed