How to Ease the Pain, Get a Copy of the Book, Crashing Streams of Change
Reading is a delightful view into the soul of the earth; it is that golden window in the crabbed and often confused world of man. Reading is a marvelous friend that holds its enthusiasts’ hands and leads them across the rickety bridge of life’s often drab, boring moments. It is a magnificent companion that wakes up and cleanses the human mind and brightens and polishes the thoughts. Oh the priceless beauty of reading and all its wondersome colors that paint the world with such beauty and bloom; but unfortunately, the gleaming light of reading’s blossomy brightness has waxed dimmer and dimmer during the past decade or so. Many formerly avid readers have lost their first love: They have abandoned that craved, beloved spot where they had read hundreds of books that suffused their hearts with the beam of bloom and beauty and excitement and passion and ardor. Unfortunately, for some unexplained reason, not a few folks have forsaken their former lover of reading: They have been lost in the novel and quaint forest of technological gismos. They have been washed away in the unbuttoned world of brash, violent, and sleazy entertainment—video game, Internet obsession, television addiction, movie going, alcohol addition, pornography, and weird and destructive entertainment like rave parties. The lineup of reading’s destructive competitors is impressive indeed and quite a surreal showroom of moral decay in society.
In the light of this shocking travesty and jarring abandonment of one of society’s staunchest and most reassuring, family-friendly allies; those of us who know the sterling value of reading and its dramatic and impactful influence on society cannot sit idly by and let our society be ruined by illiterates. No, we definitely cannot sit by and let our way of life be overrun by this brawling shower of sleaze, smut, violence, and unwholesome entertainment that is directly caused by the rising tide of illiteracy in our society. There is a dangerous penchant in society today that is expressed thus: “I just don’t have time for anything other than my person affairs. I am too busy to get caught up in trying to make any difference in the world: The world has simply gotten too complicated. And besides, what difference would my getting involved make any way:.
The world is going to hell; you know that, and you can’t stop it.” Those of us who are still passionate about reading and cognizant of its innate worth to change society in a positive direction must rise up and vigorously promote it in every possible way. Many of us who are zealous fans of reading are also writers—our very livelihood depends on it. Theoretically, the more readers there are out there, the more books we would sell; and the better writers would do, generally. Good writers are a revered class of people in society, who lead the way in the ongoing societal construction process: They are genuine leaders who work arduously to unscramble the clutter that ever so often confuses and confounds human society. Writers’ splendid contribution to society in thought, imagination, creativity, and plain genius plays a rather consequential role in clearing things up and making the world a much better place. The dramatic decline of society’s interest in books and reading is a powerful slap in the face of writers and a frightening sign of the times: Have writers become so cheap that nobody wants to read what we have to say—is that it?
It certainly seems that way. As purveyors of constructive, productive, and informational literary content that is replete with mental aliments; writers must embrace the Herculean challenge to waft society back to the beautiful world of reading. People have been beguiled and gaffed by technology’s cheap, hollow entertainment—and what has been the result? It has spawned a bafflingly frightening nightmare of uncertainty, reduced value of human life, run-away violence, and a world that is riddled with chaos and confusion of every imaginable kind. The world was a much more enjoyable place when people –children and adults—just sat down and read for the mere pleasure of reading. That world has passed on; the one in which we currently live is a strange horror story and a frightening museum of change, intrigue, uncertainty, and ruin: Everyone is looking over his shoulder to see who is stalking him. We have simply tossed the world of sane morality, human decency, and reasonable sanity away.
Against this somber backdrop of false, frenzied societal change; I call upon writers and reading fans out there to launch a massive campaign to woo people back to the golden world of reading for reading enjoyment’s sake and to bring back the world that we once knew. The fiery passion needed to turn people on to reading again must burn within us with the incandescent heat of a Hawaiian river of fire: It must be contagious: The wonderful love for reading must blaze in our hearts and glow on our faces and in our words; recommending a book, a new author, a play, a book fair, or anything that has to do with reading. It can take so many different forms! We, the peddlers of reading’s golden virtues, must be the avant-garde advocates of a new and wholesome society filled with rational, enlightened, thought-driven people who treasure and embosom the wonderful merits of reading. We must let that incandescent passion burn like the flaming glow of a forest fire, whirring in the wind.
We must enthusiastically turn people on to reading and good books; yes, we must encourage folks to give themselves a brand-new life by expanding their world and horizon through falling in love with reading for the first time or all over again, becoming infected with the passion, and passing it on to everyone they meet. The world stopped reading when it was bamboozled and hoodwinked by corporate technocrats into accepting technology’s abject, licentious entertainment that has left virtually everyone in awe, but empty. The pathetic state of the world right now is a staunch witness to the fact that the human race is rapidly racing to its own ruin unless surreal changes are made immediately. It is so pathetic to see how the whole world has been befooled and tricked by the dashing technocrats who’ve slickly sold everything to the devil. It is kind of edgy when, suddenly, everything that was wrong; per standard traditional morality, is not right; and the things that were right are now wrong. What has happened to the world—and where are we heading?
What the world needs above all things is a good dose of healthy, wholesome, old-fashioned reading and morality. Good reading is an immense repository of salubrious medicine for the human soul. It is exposure to this type of reading that the world so desperately needs now. It needs reading that purifies and enlightens the soul; turning ordinary people into mavericks, self-thinkers, and world changers. It is high time that the empty-headed billionaires who are running this world recognize that they have made a mess of things and spend their billions on ordinary people with positive world-changing ideas. As the world’s billionaires tighten their grip on the helm of power in the world, a jarring slew of technological gadgets and gismos have showered human society, turning its whirling masses into intellectual nincompoops and simpletons. Why? People’s obsession with these technological devices has turned them away from the saner aspects of life, such as caring for their families, loving their children, treating spouses with care and respect, and reading wholesome materials as they did in the past.
Everything is instant now, and it is getting more and more shockingly ugly by the minute: Pornography is instant—of the worst kind—and however you want. The Internet is ablaze with adulterous discreet match-making sites that allow married people to pick their own adulterous lovers. God help us—society has gone stark crazy, and part of the problem is that people have simply stopped reading. To fail to read is to become an illiterate; and, as the world has waxed more and more hostile to traditional reading, the brash age of illiteracy has appeared from the blue. The appalling onrush of this strange age of illiteracy, moral anarchy, and senseless violence has taken the world by storm. In societies where reading as a hobby is abundant, people think more carefully before making critical decision; as a society’s reading level drops, moral decline and frenzied violence tend to rise sharply because of the people’s failure to develop their minds and exercise the power of mental thought in making good decisions; accordingly, society becomes more mechanical and senseless: Human behavior typically becomes less rational, more arrogant, and destructive.
According to a report by the National Endowment for the Arts, based on reading trends collected from more than forty sources; including federal agencies, universities, foundations, and associations; on average, Americans, ages fifteen to twenty-four, spend almost two hours a day watching television, and only seven minutes of their daily leisure time is spend reading. NEA’s findings also underscored the fact that reading scores for all American adults covering all educational levels have declined drastically, particularly among the most highly educated groups. Between 1992 and 2003, the percent of American adults with graduate school experience rated proficient in prose reading plummeted from thirty to twenty percent. Between 1992 and 2002, the percent of Americans, ages 18 to 24 years old who voluntarily read books for leisure decreased from fifty-nine to fifty-two. Money spent on books, adjusted for inflation, fell fourteen percent between 1985 and 2005; and for all practical purposes, that number has gone up since then.
Moreover, the number of seventeen-year-olds who either never or hardly ever read for pleasure has jumped to nineteen percent. These dire reading statistics, put out by the National Association of Endowment for the Arts, a respectable American educational organization, are a ghostly harbinger of a dark ad dismal future for the American society, a technologically advanced culture. Plainly, in the light of these statistics, unless dramatic changes are mobilized immediately; it is not hard to see where Western civilization is heading. In strictly pragmatic terms, America; and the West, as a whole; would not be able to hold on to their economic and military edge in the world if their populations are illiterate—and all the indicators are pointing in that direction right now.
People have lost interest in reading across the board in the west, and this is affecting the quality of work and life in all Western societies: The age of illiteracy is here, and from the looks of things, it appears as it is here to stay. There are three kinds of illiterates: Those who never learn to read, those who refuse to read, and those who read and fail to connect the dots—and all three groups of illiterates appear to comprise the matrix of the Western world’s population. These dangerous nonreaders allow society to tie them up in its tangled web of lies and to choke all the juice of life out of them, turning them into fools who never learn not to trust the world that you see with the naked eye.
The process of becoming a good reader is only the first step in understanding the dark, tangled jungle of human society: This first step merely equips you with the accoutrements that are needed to make the journey through life. You simply cannot afford to remain a good reader: You would be left behind in the lupine and internecine struggle for survival in this false world of subterfuge and guile. Reading teaches you how to maneuver your way across the endless, swelling muddy rivers of games and gimmicks that people play and pull on one another in this world. Good readers must grow up and understand that reading is an instrument that sharpens the tool of thought and intelligence.
It turns on the brilliant light of intellect and enlightenment; it also dusts off and polishes the gift of common sense and dovetails it with intelligence and reason to produce knowledge, good judgment, and wisdom. These gleaming gems are priceless life tools: They are the very light of the world, without which darkness and gloom would swallow you up in their cruel, merciless impetuous waves. Reading predisposes you to becoming wise because of the goldmine of knowledge to which it gives you access; accordingly, it opens you up to a whole new world of opportunities which foster success in all of its many colors. Reading is a beautiful window into the real world in which you live, not the one you see with your natural eyes—the real one that exists. Therefore, reading introduces your to the real world, sheared of the plushy cushion of your parents’ home and guardianship.
Ability to read well is just another word of intellectual enlightenment or education. It is possible but rather difficult to educate yourself without mastery of reading. It shows you how things work in this world; and if you are observant and regularly connect the dots, you would quickly realize that lies are often told by people in very high places: And if you are a little bit more observant and perceptive, you would also learn that, not only are lies told by people in high places, but also that the world itself is a quaint lie; and that knowledge puts you in control, with the whole world in your hands. Reading is mainly done with books: They contain ideas. The dizzyingly complex world that you see out there is the product of careful synthesis and utilization of ideas—good and bad. The education that mastery of reading brings hands mastery of the world to its owners; he who masters the world is everyone’s boss because he maters life itself. Reading is the key to acquiring a functional and pragmatic education; it rewards its owners with powerful dividends that do not just last for a few days, but an entire lifetime.
Reading opens your eyes and turns you into your own messiah from the dark, cruel illusion of this world that you think you know so well. The physical world is a charming and engagingly delightful place: It is replete with picturesque poetic beauty polished with the very knuckles of Providence himself. The mysteriously beautiful physical world is splendorous museum of warmth, charm, delight, and awe. The problem that most people encounter is finding the ability to enjoy the world— something that seems so beautiful and wondersome. They see it, dressed in all of its elegance and splendor and breathless beauty; but somehow or other, they cannot seem to enjoy it.
Unwritten codes in the world appear to hold the key to enjoy life here on this earth; but being ignorant and illiterate blocks one’s view of things. Reading and the education that it offers allows you to understand the world enough to be able to enjoy it. Education gives you first-hand information about how the world around you really works and what you need to do in order to enjoy it. Unfortunately, all readers do not cooperate with the powerful reading stimulus to think for themselves: Many people read and behold the light switch, but they refuse to turn it on and enjoy the new refreshingly delightful world to which reading opens them. Whether the books are good or bad, all books teach mankind the essence of what is in the world: Bad books bring heaviness and unwholesome feelings, advising their readers that they may be trespassing on forbidden territory and need to cease the reading and turn around. They corrupt your mind and turn into someone other than yourself in a negative way. Thus, reading awakens one’s conscience and sharpens his sensitivity to good and evil in the world.
Reading shows you where the light switch is located in this world, and your conscience tells you to turn it on If the book or reading content is foul and unsavory and vile, your conscience would normally tell you to get out of the room; the switch of enlightenment is not there—it has been either tampered with or removed. If you keep reading content that pollutes your mind and poisons your conscience and judgment, it won’t be long before your conscience dies out on you and you can no longer distinguish between right and wrong and between good and evil. In this situation, it is not the book that has polluted you; it is your own conscious proclivity toward the wrong side of things that has corrupted you. And of course, one might quite justifiably ask, “Who determines right from wrong in a world of free will?” Jean Paul Satre provides the perfect answer to this question. As has been insinuated before, the world is not what it appears to be: Free will is essentially human slavery. In his existential theoretical system, Satre, a French educrat (a very educated person) and philosopher, warns mankind about the deceptive comforts of free will. Of course you have free will but are also responsible for all of your actions; accordingly, your free will is not that free after all.
The Holy Bible, flashing an empty tomb, advises the human race to turn that free will over to its creator, Almighty God: After all, assuming that there is a creator of mankind; merely getting to know that creator, turning your free will over to him, and living your life according to his standard of morality are really a very small price to pay to have the one who created you at the helm of your life. Just a mere glance at the world today shows the glaring mess that free will has created in the world. When the empty tomb factor is factored into the equation of how to live on this earth, it is very obvious that something is wrong with the world. Reading tosses the key to understanding the world to you—and what is that key? It is merely the ability to think and reason for yourself. A careful study of this world reveals that there is a veiled machinery of thought that is consciously trying to block your thought processes and force you accept an intelligently articulated worldview that comes at you from all directions.
You are bombarded with this titanic brainwashing machine every day of your life, unbeknownst to you: That machine of guile and deceit owns you and controls your entire life without ever demanding that you submit to it. The paradox here is amusing and droll: While you are told that you have free will to think, reason, and make decisions for yourself; you are consciously controlled by a vulpine system of deceptive people without your ever being aware of there being any surreptitious brainwashing machine. Careful use of the gem of reading though allows you to connect the dots and see the various streams of thought and understand their ramifications all on your own. This is the essence of reading’s golden virtues. You learn to think for yourself and to see the world through lenses that you have created through your own thought processes, not some secret intelligentsia that is trying to control you without your knowing it. If you look at this world carefully enough, you would notice that people are not really in control of things—something or someone somewhere out there is controlling them: the travesty is that they are not even aware that they are being controlled by a secret intelligentsia in the world.
Objective reading takes off the dark goggles and ponderous masks through which we see the world. As it turns out, the world that we see is a masquerade: It is a world that is dressed up in masks where people are hiding all kinds of hurts; shameful spots; destructive past moments; embarrassing present conditions; social, psychological, and financial insecurities; and on and on and on. Thus, the world that we look at is far from being the world that exists; making the world itself a strange lie unbeknownst to most of us. We do not see the world as a lie: We see and take it at face value, assuming that it is exactly what we see, but we go about our lives as if the world is a place of truth. We walk in ignorance and darkness: We live under the shadow of lies; accordingly, there is a disconnect between what the world is really like and what we see or think it is like. Reading and the educational enlightenment that it imparts allow people to see the world as it really is.
Objective reading removes the dark goggles from our eyes and allows us to see the world for exactly what it is—twisted, unreliable, traitorous, fraud-driven, and plain false. Reading and its concomitant educational enlightenment magnify the shockingly heavy ugly mask people wear, encouraging them to remove it and chastising them if they do. Thus, reading reveals the stout paradox of earthly life. Ball-headed men often wear hats. Well, after all; it is not their fault that they are ball-headed. They came into this world with hair, and the passing years merely remove them. Is it wrong for ball-headed men to wear hats that make them look younger and sexier? No, not all! Then, why should reading’s enlightenment force ball-headed men to be merely themselves and take the ongoing pommeling of critical remarks from society when being ball-headed is not even their fault in the first place. The problem here lies in a false society that worships youth and disgraces and dishonors elderly people. The truth here is that everybody eventually grows old and dies. Society should respect that iron fact and therefore honor and respect older people, but it does not: Rather, it chastises people for growing older and slickly encourages them to jump off the bridge and end it all.
They are discriminated against, they are passed over for jobs, they are not viewed as worthy of erotic engagement: Preference is brashly handed to younger and more comely, energetic people. Reading enlightens people and sensitizes them to these societal foibles and evil quirks, making them ultra-aware of the need to achieve financial independence and security by a certain age. The enlightenment that reading grants its fans exposes all the foibles and eccentricities in society and enables them to prepare themselves to live in an awkward, twisted world ; replete with guile, folly, vanity, and deceit. Reading—in the form of knowledge and education– therefore, is the looking glass of the human race: It merely reveals to us what is already in the world and how much of it has gotten into us. Reading magnifies the essence of world’s corrupt, evil nature and glaringly exposes who and what we are as human beings.