Wednesday, October 17, 2007

A Great Truth

Though I have long known it, it occured to me tonight to write it down someplace. Why not here?

The first time I learn something it is a messy experience. I think I get it, but in all truth I only get a little bit of what's there, as if I'm a thimble being filled with water tossed from a bucket (but all I feel is full, so I don't really seem to care). I go along with that for awhile, considering and refining the ideas it provides, and then I come back to the original thing learned, this time getting it much more fully. Oftentimes it is the same text, encountered again, and this time every sentence speaks volumes rather than the whole speaking sentences.

I know, I know: you realized that years ago. Sure. But read it again. This is why teaching is frustrating. This is why I am constantly embarrassed by my own past. Perhaps this is why history is cyclical.

I've kept a mostly accurate list of all the books I've read since returning from Korea in 2002. I'm up to 180. Of those, fourteen are repeat titles, and one I've read three times. That means that for every ten books I read I read one of them twice. (This doesn't take into account scriptures or the books I may have read before going to Korea and then repeated since. A quick glance and an unreliable memory point to more than twenty titles I think I read pre- and post-Korea.)


Bart Bradshaw said...

Bah, I wish I had written down all the books I've read since returning from Korea in 2001. If that list included books of which I've read the first few chapters, it'd be a pretty significant list (I get easily distracted if a book doesn't grab my attention, and I've been sampling all kinds of genres out of my norm).

agirlwho said...

I am now going to read your blog. And you'd better read mine. We miss you out here!

Amanda said...

William Butler Yeats (insert a Grover eye roll here, perhaps?) had a theory about history as a spiral staircase. Other people have had this idea before, I'm sure, and many have played off of it since. I use it all the time.

I think it compliments nicely what you're saying here, though, doesn't it? If you think about life as a linear thing, then it's easy to feel discouraged when you repeat mistakes or relearn something for the umpteenth time. If you view life as a spiral staircase, then you realize that, while you do revisit old themes again and again, you're hitting them at a higher point on the stairs.

Just a thought.