Sunday, March 13, 2011

Time in--Time out

For much of your life as a reader of books, reading has been important to you, in no small measure because of the information you could discover, glean, investigate.  In your early teens, this importance became more focused as it began to become clear to you that you wished to spend as much of your working and waking lives connected somehow to the publishing industry, the writing craft, and the furtherance of your education.  By these means, so your reasoning went, you would be able to earn sufficient income to tend your basic needs while developing both your ability to tell story and your ability to improve the workings and functions of your mind.

You did not then nor still do not now comprehend the full implications of your association with books and the materials often contained in them any more than you understand the implications of a puppy, getting loose to make her way somewhere as dictated by her nose.

As a student, you took for granted the notion of your hours spent being immersed in the reading of books, to absorb story and information.  Left on your own, you'd be apt today to attach equal weight to the information you took in, more its champion than its challenger, only offended or skeptical in egregious moments of overstatement and/or abject disagreement with a particular book or story, but of equal likelihood willing to take a though for biblical granted everything on face value that came from your reading.  How fortunate for you that you were not left on your own or that your reading had a cumulative effect on your critical abilities.

Individuals who live as you do find it easy to take possession of internal landscapes, retreating from such metaphorical guard rails as critical thinking, questioning, judging attributions and, most obvious of all, developing and living within your own parameters of understanding, curiosity, and practicality.  Although you like to think of yourself as one who listens to a multitude of points of view,tries to understand the sympathy of scattered and diverse visions, the actual percentage of your adherence to such standards is bare in its minimalism.

Reading, that universal goal among literate and scholarly cultures, can be addictive, pulling the individual reader deeper within the framework of self to the point where the self becomes absent from discussions, literally too preoccupied to venture out for new experience, information, and point of view.  You could, in fact, become trapped within the limitations of your own reading preferences, which may not include materials chosen for their antagonism to your own visions, interests, and hopes.

Imagine being trapped inside your own imagination, subject to the rigorous suspicions of your own doubts and cynicism.  Imagine your own vision is the only vision available to you.

The writer and artist strive to spend time within their inner "studio," by feel the requirement to come out from time to time, checking in with the reality outside.  Whenever a person slams the door behind, so that the spring lock clicks into place, that person has entered the locked ward area, where bigotry, hatred, and various afflictions known as various insanities abide.

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