Pressing the Reset Button

We're fairly familiar with the reset button on many of the electronic devices that are a key part of life in the 21st century. We like it - after all, our problems with a particular piece of equipment and the things we want it to do, are literally resolved at a stroke (most of the time). We don't need to go through or even understand the fixing process, as the technology does it all and we can make a totally fresh start.

The reset button is also a powerful abstract idea. It's very appealing in the context of relationships - in business, international relations or many other areas of life. So long as the parties are able to find and then agree to someone pressing the "reset button", all or at least most of the prior annoyances and misunderstandings will be immediately swept away.

This is great and certainly to be encouraged in many situations. Why take time going over old ground, getting into complex processes, when it's much easier just to jump back to the beginning? The only possible objection to this approach is that it conveniently avoids understanding what went wrong before. In other words, where are the "lessons learned" that we so often look for and need? The benefit of the experience, however difficult, is lost and the danger of repeating the same mistakes remains.

In summary then, maybe the reset button is one of those necessary things - you have to press it to start again properly - but it may not always be sufficient to ensure smooth sailing afterwards.


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