Thursday, March 22, 2012

Nobody Reads Anymore

Do you still read?

In this day and age, we may have unlearnt how to suspend our need for instant gratification. We want it and we want it now. There’s no stopping the rebellious child in us. We disguise this impatience with the excuse called digital technology. We claim to be busy. What with? Our job? Our family? Our commitments? Reasons or excuses?

In the 1960’s, the conservationists’ slogan was ‘Save a tree, eat a beaver’. Then it devolved into the sorry statement ‘Why are you killing trees?’ as we flout the recycling rules. So much for paper-less, when many still fear the online ways to conduct business and commerce! Hypocrisy abounds, and in abundance. Perhaps, we have read less and become skillful in making sweeping statements about the global issues and the human condition.

As newsprint surrendered to the online versions, how many of us are truly more informed with the plethora of information? Do you wiki it up? Do you share your reads publicly? Do you discuss matters on the public forums, and behind closed doors? How much do you express yourself as a critical thinker?

Some people get depressed when reading dreaded headlines. Somehow, there is more bad news than good news. News is still news. Man bites dog. Dogs bite man. Even on a slow news day, there is always something to report within the community. If you believe in most of what you read, it may account for your sense of pessimism and hopelessness. Perhaps, it is time to direct our attention from reading newspapers to other sources of news and commentaries.

Reading can be a rewarding pastime, and discipline. It takes time to read. It requires strength and appreciation of language to comprehend good writing. Good writing is manifested through fiction, non-fiction, letters and commentaries. Reading is akin to an exploration of the landscape of our minds, and those of others. The writers before us propose their ideas, observations and perspectives in a myriad of ways. Writing is hard work. Not physically, yet the toll on the mind can fatigue your limbs and heart. Topics that writers tread on may not be for the faint of heart. Readers share the journey with their guides who prod minds into a beehive of activity. 

Reading works on an individual’s pace. Fast or slow, deliberate or casual – this intellectual activity requires brain-power. Vocabulary, grammar, opinions, perspectives – so many cognitive processes are in play – when we read. It can be very demanding work on our eyes and brain.

Will you still read?

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