Monday, February 12, 2018

Do you dislike reading?

Apologies for this long hiatus, life has been crazy since July last year and my mind hasn't had time to unwind and simply process what is around me.

Recently, I've been informed by my manager that I need to slow down my pace of work - lest everyone is unable to catch up and is panting for their breath. I ran too fast, and because of that, people often resort to just asking me the "are we there yet questions" since I am already ahead, instead of taking in what's happening around them.

Communication is key, and the key of mine may not fit the lock of someone, and I began to turn to my fount of wisdom on how to cope with this situation - philosophy. I turned to Machiavelli, and then Foucault to (re-)understand on a fundamental level, how I need to shift my perspective. I start to wander in my thoughts, how do people seek answers or formulate and ask pressing questions that act like sign posts?

My go-to friends are books, textual and visual understandings and conversations with dead authors or artists. When I recommend books to people to the questions they seek, I thought it might invoke a different perspective that may bring them some measure of peace, they give me the oddest look.

Granted that reading is often a privilege that is bound to social class and economic wealth, furthermore profoundly and dense texts is pretty much scholar-ivory tower type stuff. However people I speak to fundamentally hate reading - my boyfriend included.

I think this distaste comes from eating steamed broccolo at a very young age and forever hating that vegetable. It was how books were introduced to our lives. The meaning they gave to our formative years that have some people absolutely hating it, and others like me who can dive into it for hours. For some, books present themselves as pain and long arduous boring lessons and the 40page bound pieces of paper is a very visceral and subconscious reminder of that. It may even perhaps be a symbol of one's failure to cope with the educational system, especially individuals who have not benefitted from the institutions they were in. That is perhaps why some people prefer TED videos and podcasts for their personal development as those were mediums of enjoyment and given that learning was just a happy by-product of this. I have friends who read for pleasure but not for development, and we have JK Rowling and Roald Dahl to thank for making reading so much better for all of us.

I was told by teachers that once you have mastered a subject, the only way to get better at it was to teach it to others. Depending on dispositions, those ones being fed information can feel handicapped, or feel empowered. We should be careful how carelessly disseminating or communicating certain ideas from an unequal axis of informational power can ironically make someone even more impotent. It is the chick that never leaves the nest, the larvae that refuses to discard its cocoon. There are benefits in taking hours to finish a book when a video can summarise everything in 15minutes. It is efficient but not effective. It is the same comparison when you listen to a speech vs having a offstage conversation with the speaker afterwards. The latter takes longer, because your mind is processing ideas and thoughts while the former is a passive exercise. I promise that you will feel more empowered when you engage the author as you read rather than having it dished to you in very little time that we don't have time to react or even think it through before agreeing. Books are an imprint of a person's ideas and thoughts at any one point in their life, so what we  have are timeless conversations with people who have lived before us. In some ways, relevant or not, they remain immortal to us

Seek to challenge the boundaries of your mind, one way or another at any level. To move faster in life, we sometimes have to hit the pause button and enter into this literary limbo to recalibrate. Lest we spend time wandering the forests when sometimes taking a few moments to check the GPS can in turn take us where we want in a shorter time.