Thoughts about Reading - A way to fight ignorance and to provide a sound escape.

Many people say they have no more time to read. Does this mean that we are only dominated by time? Or why can't we find the time we need to read ?
Yet, this is just a matter of willingness. Time should not fully control our lives. We need also to be able to command our own time, our own moments of sheer relaxation. This simple awareness leads us to consider how modern life has impacted individuals.
Stress has become a real daily concern. In fact, it has become a contemporary illness, which pervades our Western societies. Medicine only starts realizing its negative impact now. Perhaps, the answer to cure this illness does not only rely on medical drugs. There are many other simple ways to palliate. Asian wisdom will teach us to meditate in order to take control of our minds and bodies first. This brings back the idea of personal awareness to regain full control of ourselves. We must not let us be drifted away in the boat we are in. There are times to look back and decide to row against the current, at least for a brief moment. It is a simple life-saving awareness.
Reading - a way to relax and pause - can help because it breaks the spinning effect of Time and brings our minds to an imaginary sphere. Reading can be a sound cure against the side effects of stress and the ever so rapid pace of modern life. And yet, how many physicians will advise their clients simply to read to get away from stress so as to relax?
Of course, this is a matter of education, culture and strong personal will.
  And now, what about children? Girls are said to read more than boys because supposedly it is a sex orientation! Some research and news articles have already talked about it. Is there a way to change this common attitude? There are three groups of people, who may be able to change or perhaps curve this trend: first the parents, and then teachers and librarians. The source of knowledge and education lies in books. Isn't Education a major goal to attain ?
  Sometimes, by just visiting a good bookshop or chatting with a passionate book seller, you can discover a great book to read choosing to follow their selected choices. Friends can also contribute. These are simple ways to enhance reading.

However, there is a long way to go to improve today's reading level. First of all, there must be a general public awareness of the impact reading can bring to individuals. Then, children should be strongly motivated to read. This is the role of educators. Not that this is not done already. But it is not done broadly and sufficiently. There should be ways to promote books to make it fashionable and attractive for boys and girls alike! There is a need to change the trend and make it a priority. As for adults, it may sound too late already. But this is also a matter of personality. As grown-ups, we are left free to choose which way to go. And if this is the wrong direction, you can turn back and follow another road, or at least take byways to keep on going. Reading can provide an escape that TV and cinema only seem to offer these days! And what do they provide? Mostly violence. Reading has so many ways to capture your own interest. A good book will take you to another dimension where you are totally immersed and at the same time will provide an unconscious escape from the dreary reality of life. And isn't it what adults need to slow down the pace of life in order to get rid of stress at least for a while? Done on a regular basis, it will be the best natural medicine. It could very well save your life too. Stress has been acknowledged as one of the main killers in our era.
       It is so obvious that deep standing knowledge is gained through reading. So, why do we want to go back to the Dark Ages? The great library of Alexandria was built to elevate Man's spirit. Science and Technology or Politics and Sports dominate our lives. Ecology is fighting its own battle to preserve the Earth. Medicine tries to expand successfully life span. Reading should come back to our lives to bring a sounder mental effect. We need a bit of everything to make Men and switch to a New World. It is a wise dose of everything not the way it is done right now. It rings a bell: this old Latin aphorism - “Mens sana in corpore sano” ('A sound mind in a sound body').

Christian Sorand,
Bangkok, August 2014

A few selected quotes about reading:

No matter how busy you may think you are, you must find time for reading, or surrender yourself to self-chosen ignorance.” — Confucius

Reading brings us unknown friends.” — Honoré de Balzac

I have always imagined that Paradise will be a kind of library.” — Jorge Luis Borges

I cannot live without books.” — Thomas Jefferson

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