reflections on reflections

Scrolling to the bottom of its homepage, I note that the first blog post I wrote is dated 10 February 2013, ten years ago this weekend. I suspect in fact that this is a bit of a artifact, in that I suspect I started drafting it then but didn’t publish it until later, and somehow the date assigned was the date the drafting started until the date the drafting finished. One piece of evidence for this is that the second post didn’t show up until nine months later, in November, and another is the first line of the piece itself.

That first piece was entitled the power of number, and it sets out the basic observation that once we start assigning numbers to things, perhaps for the purpose of ranking, then the meaning drifts into the number, at the expense of that to which the number was assigned. And over the past ten years, I have become more convinced that it’s true.

Another of those early posts was on another aspect of numbers, namely that the words we use to describe number hide the magnitude of the numbers themselves, and this also ties into the difficulty that we humans have in appreciating the scale of the very large and the very small.

There are things that I have the vague memory of putting on the various lists of things to do as part of those early posts, but which have slipped down the list, or off the list entirely, with the continuing accumulation of the ephemera of daily life, the weeds which grow quickly and sometimes hide the paths on which we walk. And so time perhaps to pull some weeds and find these hidden things, and finally work them through.

Beyond that, though, there are larger pieces of work as well. For instance, I’ve written some significant number of words on aspects of teaching, both in math and in aikido, and it’s not clear to me that the current me will agree with all of the words that past mes have written. In part, this is an inevitable consequence of gaining experience through the years, reflecting on my practice through the years, and also the reflection on the experience of the past few years and how that will have changed everything. What to keep, for instance, and what of the old to allow to be gracefully retired or abandoned.

And so I think the time has perhaps come to go back, read old pieces, and have that conversation between current me and the many past mes, though interspersed with the emergent thoughts of the days to come.

~ by Jim Anderson on 12 February 2023.

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