Reflection is this powerful thing where we can re-assess things that have happened and see them in a new light. Things in the moment almost always look different when we look back on them.
We don’t get to see all of that when we don’t have the opportunity to reflect. In this regard I have been fortunate, from laying in a hospital being told by doctors that if I continued my lifestyle I’d be dead in as little as 5 years – 5 years ago.
A lot of people don’t have that time for reflection. Maybe because of that, repeating the same mistakes is as much a habit as smoking. As a reformed workaholic the idea of stepping back to move forward is counterintuitive.
It’s the American view that everything has to keep climbing: productivity, profits, even comedy. No time for reflection. No time to grow up. No time to learn from your mistakes. But that notion goes against nature, which is cyclical.-George Carlin, quoted in “George Carlin’s American Dream”, Part 2.
If we recap and look back at the narratives of our world, this lack of reflection is probably one of the reasons everything is so broken. If we don’t have the time as individuals, how can we have time as a society to reflect? If we do not reflect as individuals, how is it possible for the societies we belong to to reflect as a society?
Frankly, it isn’t. And since we’re so busy doing other things and have no time for reflection, things don’t change and we look up from our busy little lives and protest that someone else isn’t making progress for society when we ourselves aren’t doing it.
To fix things we don’t like, to rewrite narratives that fit our humanity and that continue to define future humanity, we need to reflect as individuals and as a society. That would be one step in the right direction.