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.

mock signpost

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?


angry computer user

They say we’re never too old to learn…

But maybe you really can’t teach an old dog new tricks if he isn’t listening.

14 thoughts on “Contradiktat

  1. Yes, the older you get, the more you can see how all your life there was conflicting advice about many aspects, especially diet and exercise. Health I suppose. These days, it’s still trial and error for me, and sometimes others pointing out when I need to take heed. Getting to know one’s own body is still unchartered territory, although I have been amused to see FB memories charting previous ME episodes over the years at similar times. Maybe FB is useful after all? In my case, I think the weather, full moons and seasons seem to affect me. Let alone times when I just ignore twinges and hints of ‘Overdoing it.’ Evidently, the sciatica that has emerged yet again, which I’m wondering is caused by sitting in bed each morning, has reared it’s ugly ways in previous years at this time. I don’t think I’ll ever work it out.
    Am I the only one getting annoyed by rich and famous people spouting on about ‘climage change’ as they use private jets when leaving their huge mansions? And gas guzzling limos?

    Liked by 2 people

    1. I’m getting annoyed about rich and famous people spouting off, full stop. Mind you, there are a lot of nonentities on the internet who also seem to think they have the answer to life, the universe, and all that. Amazing really that they haven’t become rich and famous. (You could be right about the sciatica. Sitting up in bed for any length of time does my back in.)

      Liked by 2 people

    2. Calling someone a celebrity seems to make them an authority on anything they talk about. I wish the rich would pay their taxes. If they have money to burn to send phallic-shaped objects into space, I wish they would instead spend the money on those who have nearly nothing. They will get the money back later on when those who they give it to spend it themselves.

      Liked by 2 people

        1. I suppose if you’ve spent much of your working life pretending to be a high-flier (or even a space traveller) it’s probably reassuring to actually get up there one day.
          On the other hand, our descendents may find themselves looking for somewhere out there to live some millenium.

          Liked by 1 person

  2. Difficult decisions. Also makes me hearken back to the time I would see my dad trying to nap on the sofa when he was the age I am now and telling him to ‘come on, dad; you can sleep when you’re dead’ (the way that only a thoughtless child can do). Having reached that age he was then, I have given my younger self a kick up the backside. Especially now, after dental treatment when I want to go and do things but the pain is so bad all I really want to do is sleep it off! Conflicting advice is hard to ignore, though, isn’t it.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I love how if we live long enough the current advice contradicts the old one. That seems to be happening now around full fat products. Apparently they have some redeeming merits. Agh. I hear you about the leg pains. I am now practicing standing on one leg while I brush my teeth for improving balance and have sore legs now.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I avoid anything labelled as low fat. They usually have other things in there that are worse for us than the naturally-occuring fat content. Don’t get me started on margarine – I read once how it was made – Yeuch! I know how butter is made. You take some cream and shake it about a bit.

      Liked by 1 person

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