Wednesday, January 26, 2022

A Life of Leisure?

 January 26, 2022

One of the most important avenues to becoming a critical reader is simply to read more, and to read a variety of styles, voices, and subjects. The more ideas and perspectives we come into contact with, the more we are able to really understand our own perspectives and the way in which we choose to situate ourselves in our beliefs and understanding of the world.  It’s crucial.  Those who are not good, mindful readers–of texts, of media, of people–are simply at the mercy of whatever perspective they encounter.  They are helpless against tricks and rhetorical arguments they can’t see through or don’t have enough experience to critically navigate.

Sadly, though, in our society we deem reading a leisure sport–a pastime for the lazy or those lacking a solid work ethic.  Reading, unless assigned by a teacher or a professor, is something we do only if all of our other tasks and chores have been completed, which as we know, is never.  We even admonish ourselves for taking the time to read when dishes need to be done, or when the gutters need to be cleaned, or any number of other tasks need attending to, both significant and menial.  The list never ends. Because reading entails a still body, it seems a luxury, a lavish expenditure of time to sit and read.  To contemplate.  We celebrate a body in motion, one that is constantly doing.  Why is the turning of the mental wheels considered any less important?  At what point did enriching and enhancing the mind become the low priority?  Why do we make ourselves feel guilty–or allow others to make us feel guilty for spending time reading?

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