Madame Blossom's Book of Poems

Friday, December 26, 2014

What does it mean, to read?

Just finished a book called ' The Lost Art of Reading' by David L Ulin.   It discusses about what we achieve from reading and also the ability to read and sustain our attention to a book - quite challenging in our times - these times of endless distractions.   Distractions that come in many forms, mostly the Internet and the TV.   So it got me thinking about this whole idea of reading.

I have written before that the way we read now,  is also shaping our minds into shortening our attention span.  Most of the time, when we read online, we don't read a story and let our thoughts and feelings dwell on it.  We read, feel a bit and jump on to the next topic.  Just like that.   

I think this shaping started with the newspapers and the news on the screen media.   It's in these news, that we are trained to read or hear about stories and move on to the next.  The newscaster on TV may be delivering news about a disaster in a town, and then 'on a brighter note, at home' she delivers news of the great sale.

Then, there is also the case for information overload.  Let's not even talk about social media, loaded with trivia, mostly of no importance and irrelevant. 

Let's just talk about books. In the old days, there are some important and good books to read and even memorised by the learned.  But now the number of 'good books' are so numerous and so I question - Is it necessary to read all of those 'good books' to be in the know?

'Be in the know' - about what?  Do we even know what we want to know? - what we need to know - what is relevant to know?

What is relevance?  For me, relevant knowledge is a knowledge that will benefit me.   Benefiting me means it allows me to use the information to create or do something useful, be it for me or for my community.  If a knowledge does not do that for me - then it is irrelevant and just noise.

Then it brings me to this : what does it mean to read, as one who submits their will to God - in short, as a Muslim.

To be continued, insyaa Allaah.

1 comment:

Al-Manar said...

You made me think what reading, my hobby since childhood days, has truly benefited me. I do not see the net effect, truly. What is real is that I cannot travel without a book in mt beg and move up and dowm the stairs with a something in hand. Reading has occupied my time , making me belive reading has done gone. In short reading makes me feel I have wisely used my time. I am sure had I taken up carpentry I would have beautiful works in the house - or something to give away.

But I will go on reading, even just in preparation my my classes.