Odds Are You Won’t Read This…
Like letter writing, has reading become a lost art? That’s not to say we’re not capable of reading (albeit in many parts of the world that’s the case), but do we take the time to read?
With the advent of the digital age and the arrival of the ubiquitous email, letter writing went the way of smoke signals, carrier pigeons, Morse code, telegraphs, faxes and whatever else we humans conjured through the centuries to get our messages out there.
In a new world of text messages, tweets, updates, even the email is under attack for being too long winded. It’s as if the digital age heralded in an age of attention deficit disorder. Any message longer than a few words becomes too onerous for us to read. We swiftly move from one update to the next before we’ve finished the last one.
Before the invention of the printing press in 1439 by Johannes Gutenberg (1395-1468), the overwhelming majority of people could neither read nor write. It was up to the elites, predominantly among the clergy, to hand everything down by word of mouth to the subjects beneath them, and like elites everywhere, this could be exploited to their advantage.
Thankfully, the Age of Enlightenment brought change and people could slowly understand the manuscripts and works placed before them. No longer did they have to believe everything told them, but could read and discover ideas for themselves. They could become the genesis and proponents of new ideas themselves. They could take action (see Take Action and Achieve Happiness…), where action wasn’t an option before.
This was revolutionary. Western civilization began an exchange of thoughts and ideas that it hadn’t witnessed since ancient Rome and Greece, and with it came a cultural and technological shift forward. It’s this foundation that laid the groundwork for the many achievements we take for granted today.
And what does this mean to us? It means to not read is to go back in time. It’s living in the era before the printing press, with our ability to digest words meaningless when we don’t practice it. Just as the body is soft and lazy without exercise, the mind becomes dormant without reading.
Reading is the exercise that nourishes our mind and broadens our horizons (see Create a New Mindset, Create a New Horizon…). It is the knowledge that, when combined with action, provides meaningful experiences, meaningful experiences that culminate in wisdom. And can anything be nobler than that?
America’s most beloved author Mark Twain (1835-1910) said that “A person who won’t read has no advantage over one who can’t read.”
It’s up to us to ensure we’re neither of the people Twain alludes to; it’s up to us to go forth and read…
For more check out the Global Ebook Awards GOLD & SILVER Winner of 2014 & 2016, The C.A.T. Principle: Change, Action, Trust – Words to Live By available at Amazon and Barnes & Noble. See the latest Amazon reviews here.
Sign up above and receive this blog once every two weeks to your inbox. Comments and thoughts welcome.