My daughter said ‘ Ma, I think you are getting old. You are repeating yourself. ’
At least one thing was clear, she was listening to me. How else would she know I had repeated myself? That was a good sign. Sometimes, I get the feeling these kids do not listen at all . They ask a question and by the time you collect your thoughts and answer, they are deep in conversation with another or maybe absorbed in a book. So, I am not perturbed about the repetition and neither am I about getting old.
In a column Jonathan Wolff, head of philosophy at University College London, writes … Don't stop me if I've told you this before. We academics live by repeating ourselves. He continues .. that though people crave novelty, they prefer the familiar. Children watch the same videos over and over again. Adults return to familiar music. And some ( also the daughter who made the comment) read a particular book over and over again. Till the book finally fell apart.
The German philosopher Immanuel Kant, when in old age and losing his memory, used to write notes of his dinner conservations on the table cloth, in order to avoid introducing the same topic twice in one evening. I cannot do that for fear that they will think ( in their lingo) that I have ‘lost it’.
We are also guilty of repetitive patterns that become habits. Quite a few that become involuntary becoming a familiar part of our lives. We get three newspapers at home. The other inmate, likes to read them in a particular order and does not like the pattern disturbed. So, I settle for any paper that is not being read. See, I do not get bound by habits . At least, this particular one.
Someone suggests that to be more aware of these repetitive things that we do, one should change the pattern. If you brush your teeth and then wash your face, they suggest that you alter the pattern. Wash your face and then brush your teeth. How does this help? The changes, even in these seemingly small insignificant habits, can bring about a better awareness of what is being done. Shift this to more important areas like those patterns at the workplace and this could throw up other choices that might be there. For better results. Well, I would like to think I am too old to try ( it helps using the age factor when it suits you!!), those young(er) can try.
I have digressed. Repetition can be quite an engrossing subject. For the time being, maybe I should be more aware of what I am saying. Focus and concentrate. If that cannot be avoided. At least, sound wise. Well, Robert Frost could. But for that I have ‘ (And) miles to go before I sleep. And miles to go before I sleep….'
Would I sound wise if I did say in Latin
Bis repetita non placent ?
o Translation: "Repetitions are not well received