I haven’t been posting because the last few months have seen several digestive issues and I’ve been experimenting with my diet in a big way, so now is just not the time for me to post about food. However, I do have something to say about books and here is as good a place as any to put my vision out into the world. So, here is what I’m thinking:
Stop reading garbage. Stop.
You are better than Dan Brown and all the other Thomas Kinkades of literature. And if you spend your time reading the Bible, that’s fine. But what I’d like to say is that if people read literature and quality nonfiction with as much vigor as they read the Bible, the world would be in a much better place.
There’s so much false virtue out there about reading. The general sentiment is that reading of any kind is valuable. Even more than that, reading of any kind makes you a smart, thoughtful person. That’s just not true. Just as TV and film is full of programs of horrifying quality, publishing is full of garbage. And reading that garbage is like drinking Coke – it will make your mind flabby.
It’s true that occassionally a decent book makes it on to the bestseller list (although rarely), but that still poses another problem: everyone is reading the same thing. And so everyone is subjecting themselves to the same mind-set, increasing the likelihood that a hivemind is on the horizon. This happens frequently in intellectual and pseudo-intellectual scenes. Not good either.
So what, you ask, do I think is good? I see a possibility for really wonderful things: Read vigorously about things that interest you, form opinions on those things, and keep going. Over the next few posts I’m going to provide a structure for this concept.
There is also the motive of pure pleasure when it comes to reading. Sometimes learning and pleasure converge, and sometimes not. If you want to read a Dan Brown book because it adds a little spark to your morning commute than go for it. But read that Dan Brown book after 2 or 3 books that really stretch your brain. Come back to Dan Brown when you have a slightly different perspective about life. There are so many ideas out there, and so little time. So many opportunities, and barely enough time to scratch the surface. Use your life, your mind and your will for all the exciting, positive and productive stuff out there.