Linda Wood Rondeau

Having the Prime of My Life

WHAT WE THINK WE KNOW
Wednesday, February 28, 2024 by Linda Wood Rondeau

 

What we knew then may not be what is true now. Yet, too often we act on what we think we know. 

In a recent news report, an airport official refused a Puerto Rican man to get on his pre-paid flight without a passport … ignorant of the fact that Puerto Rico is a US territory, and those born in Puerto Rico are US citizens. A passport was not required by law.

The police were called and the officer stood by the airport official's earlier refusal … again ignorant that Puerto Ricans were indeed US citizens.

We often act or respond on what we think we know, rather than take the time to fact-check.

As a writer, I am often challenged with grammatical changes. What was standard English usage in my day, may not necessarily be the way things are done today.  I have a hard time with the tendency to eliminate the semicolon in my published work. In my day, where one or more subordinate phrases (containing a comma(s) to set them apart from the rest of the sentence), appeared in a compound sentence a semicolon was required before the conjunction. 

I cannot resist the urge to correct this with a big complaint: without the semicolon, these constitute run-on sentences. However, times have changed, and the semicolon is falling out of use. (I still put it in and let my editor decide whether to eliminate it or not).

An example of how I stubbornly hold to what I thought I knew.

I think, as seniors, we are perpetually hit with new information that negates our previous conceptions. I know I have a terrible time with Jeopardy geography questions because there have been so many new nations formed since I was in school.

Here is a map of Africa from 1950 courtesy of the Library of Congress. This is the geography I learned in grade school. At the time, most of Africa was still ruled by imperial governments.

 

 

This is Africa as of this writing. Of course, who knows if, in the near future, this will be accurate since there are constant coups and realignments. 

This map is courtesy of the Nations Online Project

So much more to learn.

What new education has you baffled? Comments welcomed. 


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