We back away, brush our hands off and think, ‘whew, that’s done now on to the next thing’ – problem solved, to-do checked off the list. File it away. Next. But what if it isn’t? What if in a few weeks, or months, or even years something happens to make us have to go through it all again; possibly even come to a different conclusion?
The medical community has revamped the protocols for cholesterol and statin use and that seems to have knocked people for a loop. That question was resolved, we all thought anyway. But life is cyclical, we learn new things on some other topic and the ripple effect can alter the decisions that seemed set in stone just a short while before.
“That is the one thing that I’ve learned, that it is possible to really understand things at certain points, and not be able to retain them, to be in utter confusion just a short while later. I used to think that once you really knew a thing, its truth would shine forever.”
~ Lucy Grealy
It seems a bit like Lucy and I aren’t coming at this issue in quite the same way, but I think that we really are. Where she mentions retain, it might be about keeping the knowledge fresh in our own memory, but it could also mean keeping it solid in light of new information or experiences. Almost anything that we think we know is based almost entirely upon the context in which we know it. If the context changes, our understanding of the thing can be thrown into confusion.
It might seem as though we are moving backward in revisiting a question, but if we are looking at it with fresh eyes and understanding then it is actually a good thing. When the elements that went into the original answer have changed, then the nature of the question and the basis of the solution might be wholly different.
It isn’t a retread at all then, but a deepening and broadening of understanding.
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