Thursday, November 13, 2008

Reflections on Reflecting - Part One

Reflecting on reflecting sounds quite deep and meaningful. Perhaps even complex like looking at a mirror through another mirror back at another mirror, oohh. The whole scenario has the potential to get very complicated, deep and philosophical. A little bit like the comment I recently received from the marker of my latest assignment…

‘The key question is whether the popularisation goes so far as to boil the book down either into inapplicability, or into incoherence?; ‘reductio ad absurdum,’ to use the Latin phrase.’

Now tell me, is a comment like that really necessary? Or even helpful?

Who really cares? Well sadly in the world of academia things like that are just par for the course; or should I say ‘par pro tractus?’ Which I would say except that it sounds a bit like ‘pass the protractor,’ which isn’t really that flash.

Without in anyway wishing to get deep or philosophical I thought I would share a few thoughts on reflection and the need to be able to reflect well.

Reflection is the process of careful thought. It is the process through which considered ideas are formed. It is the process through which we filter that which we hear, see, feel, and experience and then draw conclusions.

It is a process that many people are inept at.

Reflection is an attribute that is sadly lacking in many people. It could be because of the postmodern (everything is true – nothing is true) world that we live in. Why bother reflecting? It could be because of the incredible access we have to information. Why should you think about something when you can just Google it and find the answer waiting for you on the web? It could be because people are in fact generally lazy. Most people don’t want to think for themselves or don’t believe that are ‘bright’ enough to think for themselves, especially about something even remotely complex. ‘Leave that to the bright sparks who write books and speak Latin.’

Whatever the reason – everybody needs to learn to reflect.

For sure some people will reflect on deeper more complex issues than others, but everyone needs to be able to reflect. Especially in regards to questions such as…

- Why do I believe what I believe about __________?
- Why do I react the way I do when __________ happens?
- Why is ___________ a recurring issue or circumstance in my life?

We need to practice reflecting and learn to reflect because…

Not everything you read in a book is true.
Not everything you google or wiki is true.
Not everything you hear in a sermon is true.
Not everything you believe is true.
Not everything people tell you is true.
Not everything that happened was caused by the things you thought caused it.

And so on and so on.

Reflecting is the first stage of learning and will lead you down a path of significant personal growth. You’ll learn humility, to listen, to search, to discover, to balance, and to draw more accurate conclusions.

It will enable you to stand stronger, firmer, more confident, and more certain in life; while at the same time living more teachable, mouldable, and willing to change than ever before.

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