“Classic’ – a book which people praise and don’t read.”
― Mark Twain
If you don’t think reading is one of the top five most important things a human being can do in this life, you’re thinking is wrong. Reading grants more power for human flourishing than anything else. It is the glue of a healthy society. The fact that today we have more books than ever, and perhaps a lower interest in reading than ever in modern society… tells me we’re all gonna die soon.
Now, I know that there are hundreds of things that we all have to do which get in the way of sitting down to read, but if we all don’t begin to read well, read deep, and read long, we’re all gonna die soon.
“You think your pain and your heartbreak are unprecedented in the history of the world, but then you read. It was books that taught me that the things that tormented me most were the very things that connected me with all the people who were alive, or who had ever been alive.”
― James Baldwin
Of course, there’s the audio book these days – just hit a button and go – you’re reading. No. Stop counting it as reading. Open a book and read it. I’m sure we all have a long list of books we intend to read, but then there’s Netflix. Downtown Abbey. Walking Dead. Movies. Porn. Everything we need in visual form. Everything a dying, distracted, emaciated, emasculated culture needs, anyways. Gonna die soon.
“There are worse crimes than burning books. One of them is not reading them.”
― Joseph Brodsky
How might a power-hungry elite, hell-bent on devouring the most productive, educated, intellectually rich, innovative nation in human history go about cracking the people right down the middle? Move them away from books. Teach facts and memorization, and move them away from critical thinking. Tell them they are beautiful, wonderful, and attractive… just stay away from all those boring old books. Steal the minds of the young by training them in entertainment learning. Forget reading Tacitus, just watch Gladiator. Russell Crowe and all. Forget reading the Bible. Don’t want to be a bigoted caveman. Greatest book in human history and all. Forget studying real science and history. Get laid. Drink a lot. Smoke a bong, maaaaaan. Comic books. Halo. Movies. Getting ready for the slaughter, we are.
“You don’t have to burn books to destroy a culture. Just get people to stop reading them.”
― Ray Bradbury
After the next big political speech, ask a neighbor how the politician looked and performed. They’ll be more likely to remember that than what was actually said. Critical thinking. Who knew? We’ve all been fooled by comfort, luxury, and leisure into thinking that reading and critical thinking is for weird people. Paranoid people. People who don’t have any life. Too many times I’ve watched leaders (pastors in many cases) brag that they are just as stupid as the next guy.
In other words, don’t worry (wink, nudge), I’m just like you. You can trust me that I didn’t get my head all fulled up with ideas. No no. I’m ready and willing to party right along with you all. We’re here for comfort, we’re here for fun. Everything will be just fine, if you’ll just stop talking about things that make me have to think. If you don’t stop, we will not be friends.
“Do not read, as children do, to amuse yourself, or like the ambitious, for the purpose of instruction. No, read in order to live.”
― Gustave Flaubert
Read for life. Read to live. Read to give life to others. Read to grow. Read to survive. Read, because soon we’re all gonna die if you don’t.
Thanks for reading,
“Books are the quietest and most constant of friends; they are the most accessible and wisest of counselors, and the most patient of teachers.”
― Charles William Eliot
P.S. I write because I love.