Is 'hindsight' really 20/20?

@ladyluna (7004)
United States
March 22, 2009 12:48pm CST
Hello All, Reading a bit of history got me thinking ... I'm sure that we've all heard the saying that "Hindsight is 20/20", right? The anecdote suggests, reviewing after-the-fact offers perfect accuity or understanding. I wonder: Is hindsight really 20/20? Or does it only offer idealized clarity if we avoid repeating the same mistakes? If we look back, yet fail to avoid the same pitfalls, is that 20/20 idealized accuity, or something else like: insanity, Human frailty, or maybe just a bad joke? What say you?
2 people like this
11 responses
• United States
22 Mar 09
I subscribe to Mark Twain's 'History doesn't repeat itself, but it does rhyme'. Just enough of a situation changes, so that people don't understand that history is rhyming. Only a portion of the population has the sense to connect the dots. I mean, the history is there. All people have to do is study it and apply the lessons learned. A couple of parallels could be drawn from history to todays condition: The causes for the fall of the Roman Empire, the Jewish holocaust, the Chinese communist revolution, etc.
2 people like this
@ladyluna (7004)
• United States
23 Mar 09
Hello Ima_C-Suvaya, You're so right -- history is all about connecting the dots. It's too bad that in order to do it successfully one must have at least a minimal comfort level with the task of critical thinking. Alas, that was long ago removed from the syllabus in our classrooms.
1 person likes this
23 Mar 09
In my opinion, for what it's worth, most people, and that includes some leaders of major countries, are either ignorant of history and/or think that it is irrelevant to us in the present day. How can anyone who does not understand where we have been or how we got to where we are now possibly understand where we are going?
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@ladyluna (7004)
• United States
23 Mar 09
Precisely, JW!!!
1 person likes this
• United States
22 Mar 09
I think it's more a joke. And in a way, us subconsciously kicking ourselves in the butt for doing (or not doing) what should have (or not have) been done.
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@ladyluna (7004)
• United States
23 Mar 09
Hello Babytaffster, Oh my, if you're right what a cruel joke it is, huh?
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@commanderxo (1496)
• Canada
23 Mar 09
No....it's 50/50. Life is about making mistakes. That's how we learn. cdrxo
@ladyluna (7004)
• United States
23 Mar 09
Hello Commanderxo, 50/50 -- What an interesting deviation. Very thought provoking. Especially in light of your latter comment, to which I couldn't agree more. Though, if I may dig a little, do you really believe that the potential for learning from history is 'hit or miss'?
2 people like this
• Canada
24 Mar 09
What I meant was, that learning sometimes involves in making mistakes. Actual experience is neither hit nor miss, since one POSITIVELY learns from either experience. Experience begets learning...learning begets growth. "A picture is worth a thousand words. A thousands words is worth a thousand pictures. A thousand pictures is worth a personal experience." cdrxo
@Adoniah (7515)
• United States
22 Mar 09
Hello Lady, You are correct. Hindsight is only 20/20 if you learn from your mistakes. Most of the time however, history repeats itself. But that is Human frailty. Just like my being dyslexic. No matter how many times I spell a word, I will misspell it again because I have a fault in my human programing and I am too lazy most of the time to go look it up. And of course the Lot does not have spell check.lol Shalom~Adoniah
@ladyluna (7004)
• United States
23 Mar 09
Hello Adoniah, Hmmm, interesting that, like Drannhh, you've alluded to laziness as part of the equation. In much the same way that patients who recover from brain injuries must retrain particular functional thought patters to travel along different synaptic pathways from the point of origin, dyslexic reading/writing patterns are ingrained functional patterns. So, you're absolutely right. Interrupting the 'pattern' with a newly adopted 'trigger' is precisely the way to ingrain a new pattern of correct spelling. Of course, to substitute a new pattern for an old pattern requires cognitive awareness and commitment to the process of retraining the the synaptic pathway. Applying your dislexia analogy to the avoidance of repeating history's mistakes most likely requires the same awareness & commitment. Great analogy!
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@Adoniah (7515)
• United States
24 Mar 09
Where did your beautiful moon go? I thought you were never going to change your Avatar!!! Shalom
@hotsummer (10376)
• Philippines
23 Mar 09
i guess if we commit the mistakes many times that we will learn our lesson. it will be impossible for any one not to learn his lesson and will just keep commit mistakes every time. only people who does not want to learn or just want to stay ignorant will keep making the same mistakes. and i don't think there will be hope for people who does not want to correct their mistakes or given any effort to avoid the same mistakes. some are just slow i guess and it will take them more than one failure or mistake before they finally learn their lessons.
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@ladyluna (7004)
• United States
23 Mar 09
Hello hotsummer, To your quote: "only people who does not want to learn or just want to stay ignorant will keep making the same mistakes." I commend your very astute observation. I tend to agree that there must be some consciousness at work in any and every decision made to ignore the blueprint offered by historical successes and failures. Great point!
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23 Mar 09
Yes it is. I'm sure we have all made a mistake and then made the same one with the same outcome. Hopefully it won't happen again and we finally learn.
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@ladyluna (7004)
• United States
23 Mar 09
Hello Pinkpassion5, Hmmmm, I'm going to have to think about that. I'm actually leaning toward the incidence of making the same mistake WITH the same outcome as being relatively small. Perhaps I'm just an optimist, though I tend to give most of our species more credit than that. I tend to think that most people will try to accomplish the same goal with a similar, though not identical plan -- resulting in slightly different results. Of course, I could be totally overestimating my fellow man, thus making me totally wrong. Any thoughts?
1 person likes this
• United States
22 Mar 09
I think hindsight is 20/20. If the same situation arises again and you know you will regret the outcome if you repeat the same way of handling the situation. You are either crazy or a glutten for punishment.
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@ladyluna (7004)
• United States
23 Mar 09
True enough, Heather!
2 people like this
@Destiny007 (5820)
• United States
22 Mar 09
If we look back and still repeat the mistakes of the past, then that would be insanity. It has been said that insanity is doing the same things over again in the hopes that the results will change What I am seeing though, is a lot of people who aren't interested enough to be informed as to what history tells us... they are not interested enough to see what is going on... and they aren't informed enough to make the connections between past and present. I still have people indicate to me that if the TV didn't say it then it isn't true, and if it came from the internet then it is false. Too many people are content to simply accept the propaganda spewed by the MSM, instead of checking the facts and finding out the truth on their own. Apathy is the reason our country and our economy is in the shape that it is.
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@ladyluna (7004)
• United States
22 Mar 09
Hello Destiny, There certainly is no question that apathy is the bane of society. Great points, my friend! P.S. I'm going to highlight this misnomer for all to digest: "if the TV didn't say it then it isn't true, and if it came from the internet then it is false."
2 people like this
@jwfarrimond (4475)
22 Mar 09
That anecdote is new to me, but I'd think that seeing past problems clearly and avoiding the same problems in the future are two different things. You might be able to see the tree log in your path, but that does not mean that you won't fall over it.
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@ladyluna (7004)
• United States
22 Mar 09
Great point, Jwfarrimond. Careful of that log, OK?
2 people like this
• Grand Junction, Colorado
23 May 10
Lady, I'm back and your not here, I wonder where you might be?(will you come back?) I see this is a year old but wanted to put a different perspective on this subject. I have said more times than I care to remember hindsight is 20/20, and if I/you could go back in time you could fix those things that went wrong. I think that it's a matter of personal religious beliefs on whether this is an accurate statement for others. You see I'm from the christian faith and it's told (and I believe) that everything that happens has already been seen to happen, you can't change the future. That's why we DON't learn from the past, it can be studied all that you want, but the outcome will always be the same. We are destined to fail. Man is on a self destructive path to the end of the world! I don't think that this is a reason to not "try" and change, I'm just saying that I believe that what happens has already happened so to speak. As always just my 2 cents worth!!!
• United States
24 Mar 09
You know you can look back and think OMG I should have done this or this or this, but what would doing those things have cost you compared to what you have now? My ex husband beat me but I have two wonderful kids because of him. So sure I can look back and say I should have seen through his act, I should have taken it slower ect and so on but then I wouldn't have my kids, not these exact kids and my kids are my world. So sure hindsight is 20/20 but really even if we could go back in time and do it over would you change anything?