They say we’re never too old to learn!
And our options for finding out are many. Advice abounds on newsreels, newpapers, information leaflets, and the internet.
Medical advice as we move into winter is to avoid virus transmission by opening windows to ventilate indoor gatherings.
Ecological advice as we move into climate change is to insulate homes, close windows, and save energy.
Neither of these is bad advice.
Someone somewhere said that what the truth looks like depends a lot on what direction you’re viewing it from. Advice is a similar animal.
Let me offer a personal example of following advice.
We’ve been cautioned that sitting at a desk all day is bad for us. (In the last library where I worked, senior staff made ourselves unpopular with library assistants when we raised the height of service desks.)
In retirement, when I began writing, I had cause to remember this advice. When I was having a spell of back pain, it became worse if I sat for long periods. (I know we’re supposed to take a break from the computer every so often, but when I’m in the zone, I just need to finish this sentence, paragraph, thought…)
I set up a standing workstation for myself on a unit by a window (first mistake… highly distracting), but I’ve since discovered that the nights when I suffer leg cramps follow the days when I stand for long periods at my computer. When I divide my time between the window and the table, I hardly ever get night cramps.
This may just be me having weird physiology (we’re all different) but it does remind me to observe moderation in all things, as the ancient philosophers advised.
Good advice doesn’t necessarily dismiss all other advice as bad.
Deciding on one course of action doesn’t have to exclude all others, whatever someone else tells me, and however authoritative that person might be. Neither does it mean that anyone who favours a different course from me is wrong. The Way looks different depending on where we’re starting from.
Wouldn’t debate be pleasanter if ardent activists (online and off) opened their minds to this possibility?