Academic writing is considered "reflective" when it meditates on the significance of its topic rather than merely reporting its existence. Reflective thought "bends" ideas by locating ideas' ends and origins, and by seeking what they are nearly like and what their opposites are. Reflective writing often considers the personal situation of the writer with respect to the topic, including but not limited to previous preconceptions about it, emotional responses to it, possible causes or consequences of it, etc. Thoreau's and Aebi's intensely reflective narratives persistently return to consider how their situation is changing their world-view, or even their cosmic awareness of themselves. Sterling's future humans often seem to be asking us to do that kind of reflective consideration for them. Once you have understood how someone else's pattern of reflective thought operates, try it out on yourself and see what you can discover.