My love for ‘reading’

Posted: July 11, 2010 in Articles

From early youth I endeavoured to read books in the right way and I was fortunate in having a good memory and intelligence to assist me.
The fact that, side by side with my professional studies, I took the greatest interest in everything that had to do with art did not seem to me to signify anything of great importance. While I acquired great interest in art, poetry, drawing, story writing etcetera I still continued to read a great deal. But reading had probably a different significance for me from which it has for the average run of our so-called ‘intellectuals.’
I know people who read interminably, book after book, from page to page, and yet I should not call them ‘well-read people’. Of course they ‘know’ and immense amount; but their brain seems incapable of assorting and classifying the material which they have gathered from books. They have not the faculty of distinguishing between useful and useless in a book; so that may retain the former in their minds and if possible skip over the latter while reading or, if that be not possible, then-when once read-throw it overboard as useless ballast. Reading is not an end in itself, but a means to an end. Its chief purpose is to help towards filling in the framework which is made up of the talents and capabilities that each individual possesses. Thus each one procures for himself the implements and materials necessary for the fulfillment of his calling in life, no matter whether this be the elementary task of earning one’s daily bread or a calling that responds to higher human aspirations. Such is the first purpose of reading. And the second purpose is to grasp a general knowledge of the world in which we live. In both cases, however the material which one has acquired through reading must be stored up in the memory on a plan that corresponds to the successive chapters of the book; each little piece of knowledge thus gained must be treated as if it were a little stone to be inserted into a mosaic, so that it finds its proper place among all the other pieces and particles that help to form a general world-picture in the brain of the reader. Otherwise only a confused jumble of chaotic notions will result from all this reading. That jumble is not merely useless, but it also tends to make the unfortunate possessor of its conceited. For he seriously considers himself a well-educated person and thinks that he understands something of life. He believes that he has acquired knowledge, whereas the truth is that every increase in such ‘knowledge’ draws him more and more away from real life, until he finally ends up in some sanatorium or takes to politics and becomes a parliamentary deputy.
On the other hand, one who has cultivated the art of reading will instantly discern, in a book or journal or pamphlet, what ought to be remembered because it meet one’s personal needs or is of value as general knowledge. What he thus learns is incorporated in his mental analogue of this or that problem or thing, further correcting the mental picture or enlarging it so that it becomes more exact and precise.
Only thus can reading have any meaning or be worth while .

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Comments
  1. Wonderful site and theme, would really like to see a bit more content though!
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  2. adyleindia says:

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