1. To imperfectly transform information 2. A comprehensive rewrite of a routine, data structure or the whole program.

(source and complete definition at The Jargon File)

Lately I’ve been noticing sometimes I, and others, “munge” together related concepts in ways that interfere with understanding the original concepts. Sometimes, one does not even realize that one concept has been confused for the other.

For example, in my marriage, at times I would get upset with my soon-to-be-ex wife about housework, call it “Thing Y” — at heart I might be upset and resentful about “Thing X,” but instead of actually talking about Thing X, I would be a jerk about Thing Y.

A lesson I learned in communication, in CoDA, and in therapy is that I must try and find what I am feeling about. What is the source of my present happiness / sadness / anger / calm — what is really happening inside my heart?

I find the answer sometimes surprises me.

Related: transference, which is typically defined as transferring feelings about a significant other to a therapist. But just as easily, I think feelings about someone significant can be transferred to a concept or person.

I’d rather, at the moment, not be specific about this, and my thoughts are inchaote. But there’s something interesting here. I think it’s about our intuitive brains going a step too far. We take the experience of one negative thing — and we apply the lesson to a larger group, even when that larger group does not deserve any such judgement.

Munge is a word I usually use in a programming context. But the way human beings munge together people and things can be detrimental.

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