I love it when I’m reading something or researching something and I suddenly branch out, creating my own cross reference in my mind. It happens when reading the bible (see my garbled thoughts here) but could apply to any area of study or research – or even light reading. When reading a novel, for example, you will be reminded of earlier points in the story which are triggered by a new reference, a new incident. The two combine in your mind, establishing a link, reaffirming the relevance of either or both.
Of course, when it comes to studying a topic or reading a text the connection may have been by hundreds of people already. There may be nothing new in what you see – it may simply be new to you. But would it have been the same – felt the same – if someone else had made the connection for you? Would it sink in? Would it be as memorable?
Sometimes I wonder if we are all too ready to have others make all the connections for us, to tell us where to look, to provide all the cross references we need. These can be valuable resources, but there is a thrill in discovering something for ourselves.
I love making connections – feeling those synapses fire and fusing my thoughts in unexpected ways. And although I like to hear and learn from others – there can be something very personally rewarding in making some of these discoveries myself.
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