I read, therefore I think. I think, therefore…

There exists a theory that all kinds of music has already been written, and it is impossible to come up with a new melody. Similarly, there exists a theory that every possible plot in literature has already been explored and nothing new can ever be written.

A few times a year I send e-mails to my friends that summarize the major news on my side of the fence over the past several months and the thoughts I wish to share with those I care about, since I cannot necessarily boast keeping in touch with everyone regularly. Those e-mails (just as my blog entries :)) tend to run long and pensive (if you’re craving for an example or two – you can find them in messages to the world).

One of the recipients asked me once to “summarize the main point in a few sentences”… I had tried to explain that the e-mail was intended to be read in its entirety, and that its “point” was as much contained in its point as in the rest of the content, the form, the development of the thought… to which I got “whatever, I’m too lazy to read it, so if you don’t summarize I don’t think I’ll ever get to it”… Another person once whined that since the message isn’t intended exclusively and personally to them, they wouldn’t read it…

I am not Shakespeare, just to use the most recognizable literary icon. Or Rowling. I would never assert that what I write has any world-wide grand value, sheds light onto any unheard-of before wisdom, is insanely entertaining, or in other ways genius. Nevertheless, what an amazing way to let someone know that you don’t give a toss about anything they might wish to share and feel important enough to spend several hours, at times, expressing in words – “give me a summary”… A person, presumably a friend of yours, takes the time and effort to, instead of doing anything else, write a message that would share what is most important to them at the moment, and you – the “friend” – can’t be bothered devoting 10 minutes of your time (not enough to watch even 2 full commercial breaks on the tv) to read what’s on their mind… Maybe even if out of respect for what has been invested into creating that text?…

As far as “this message isn’t intended for me personally” is concerned… well, guess what? Neither is ANYTHING you ever read in your life except for direct mails in your inbox, and even then there are exceptions! It is absurd to think that I should never read classics because they didn’t dedicate their works to me personally and no one else. I’m not a classic, but the same argument holds for anything written…

I’m not the most centrally important person in everybody’s universe. Still, if an equally ‘peripheral’ person from my own universe asked me to take a look at something they consider very personal, important, and worthy of sharing, I would definitely read it. Even if it is 4 pages long (wow… 4 pages… that’s less text that some newspapers’ sports sections or some magazines’ beauty tips for the current season break-down!). Or 10. Or 20.

But no, “I’m too lazy to read it all”, I hear…

Back at the dawn of civilization, one of the traits that began to separate us from primates and other animals was growing awareness of self and others, ability to abstract and project onto/take from preceding and forecoming generations. One of the ways to preserve any collected wisdom and culture was written word, and once humans began using language in both spoken and written form, civilization took root. Today, with the ever-speeding-up demand for last-minute headlines, news and informational digests, tweets, the written word has become just as fast-food as any of those obesity manufacturing joints that spring to mind.

Every possible plot may have been already written… Does it mean there is no need to write or read? Does it mean anything thicker than a magazine is too time consuming to waste time on it? Or that long, ‘un-entertaining’ or ‘serious’ or ‘classic’ books, at times in several volumes, are good to toss away?

Maybe every melody has been written, too. But people keep creating music all over the world, as a form of expressing their own personal take on the ever-lasting things that matter to us, homo sapiens sapiens. Millions of melodies each day are in the process of being composed. Millions of books are in the process of being written. Each one has its own unique voice, unique language of the author. And somewhere out there in the world is a person who would best understand something very important for their life, or even best be amused and entertained, by that specific take, voice, form, and no other will do it better for them… Which is why creation keeps taking place all over the globe, despite the numbered topics around which our lives revolve…

As far as the reader goes… The ability to read a long classic is something that reflects into one’s life more than one can possibly consider it. To read AND to enjoy it. To follow through the plot. To ponder over the situations, characters and dilemmas. To explore in depth. People who read, even longer fiction, somehow tend to be more intelligent. They have a wider perspective from which they see the world and its events, and they are thorough in what they strive to accomplish much more often than those whose longest text ever read dates back to “forced-upon-them” school readings… It helps the brain to think, trains memory, and does countless other favors to the one who practices this form of mental exercise, just the same as physical exercise does for the body.

We have “no time” to read though. or so we say… I have read 3 books of over 400 pages in one month just while standing in a line at shops, banks, post office, waiting for the tram, for a friend to show up, for the food to cook, for the lights to change, for the passport control, security check, boarding call… I’d read a paragraph at times, or just a few lines (while the teller was sorting out my order at one of those afore-mentioned fast-food joints, for example), but three big, fat, serious books (one being, for instance, on history of finance), found their way from my handbag into my treasury of knowledge. This will stay with me from now on forever, and greatly enrich my life and my understanding of it. But I haven’t dedicated a single minute specifically to reading at the expense of any other activity or university assigned readings that I had been doing that same month…

There is always time. There is always playing 1000 games online, or reading an online book (if a printed version is unavailable or cannot be shown). And even if you don’t play games, there’s dozens of minutes spent waiting – wasted time – which can be turned into the eternally renewable source of expanding knowledge.

That is, of course, if you’re not “too lazy to read”… But then again, that means a lazy mind. If it is true that to think is to be, then there is no better fuel for thinking than reading fat books… Start with Harry Potter or anything of the sorts to get used to the scale, if you can’t stomach something “boring” at first. You’d be surprised at how fast you’d gobble down the entire collection! Or Agatha Christie, or Doyle. Or anything that is alluring to you by theme or subject. There are many classics of their time in any genre, and they become such for a good reason, which may give you the taste for a language, self-expression, self-awareness, for creation, for thinking, knowing, understanding more and more…

We live on an amazing little planet where there are too many wonders to ever imagine, and it’s a waste of time to live one’s life without finding at least some of those wonders. One can set on the road and travel all around, and/or take a work of literature from another country, or another era, and go travel while waiting for that darn bus to come, instead of wasting those minutes on stressing out and being upset over its 3-minutes delay, which you cannot influence anyway…

I read, therefore I am. ARE you?..


About in shade

A cocktail of personality traits hard to digest for some but ultimately soothing for those who can. I observe, enjoy, travel, interact, photograph, dance, contemplate, write and love my way through this life's countless occurrences. This blog is a way to share with the world and its people some of the treasures they give me every day.
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