In every case of reflective activity, a person finds himself confronted with a given, present situation from which he has to arrive at, or conclude to, something that is not present. This process of arriving at an idea of what is absent on the basis of what is at hand is inference. What is present carries or bears the mind over to the idea and ultimately the acceptance of something else.–Dewey
Dewey defined reflective thought as ‘active, persistent, and careful consideration of any belief or supposed form of knowledge in the light of the grounds that support it and the further conclusions to which it tends’.
Bring me the sunset in a cup, by Emily Dickinson
Bring me the sunset in a cup,
Reckon the morning’s flagons up
And say how many Dew,
Tell me how far the morning leaps —
Tell me what time the weaver sleeps
Who spun the breadth of blue!
Write me how many notes there be
In the new Robin’s ecstasy
Among astonished boughs —
How many trips the Tortoise makes —
How many cups the Bee partakes,
The Debauchee of Dews!
Also, who laid the Rainbow’s piers,
Also, who leads the docile spheres
By withes of supple blue?
Whose fingers string the stalactite —
Who counts the wampum of the night
To see that none is due?
Who built this little Alban House
And shut the windows down so close
My spirit cannot see?
Who’ll let me out some gala day
With implements to fly away,