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The pseudo-science of reading books The pseudo-science of reading books
by Joseph Gatt
2020-11-09 09:44:12
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Friends. Let me tell you why books scare you.

Your high school teachers and college professors discussed books at length. Very often, your high school teachers and college professors did not read the books that they were discussing at length.

And then you watch news media and YouTube channels of people discussing books that they haven't read, and at length.

rea01_400When a professor, teacher or pundit discusses a book he/she has not read, they often “summarize” the book in confusing, vague, abstract, complicated ways. Their explanations are confusing, make you scratch your head, and think the book must contain complicated information that you will not be able to grasp.

So you end up thinking that those books must be so complex and complicated that you don't even dare peak to see what's inside the book.

You assume that by reading the book, you will get so confused that reading the book is going to be a drag.

Then there are two (and a half) types of books. There are those clear, simple, easy to understand, easy to assimilate books.

And there are those books where the author himself/herself seem to be confused in their thoughts, thus confusing the readers.

The other type of book is the very clear book but that requires initiation.

That is, for example, I could write a book about China intended for non-Chinese readers, and I will bear in mind that the reader probably has never been to China, and probably gets all his/her information on China from the media (and perhaps the local China Town).

And then, I could write a very clear book about China, but intended for readers who have lived in China, or perhaps spent several years or their entire life in China.

So why read books? It's just a form of entertainment that satisfies curiosity in a lot of cases. Not much else.

Who would I recommend reading as a hobby to?

If someone you know or yourself is the curious type. You know that guy or that girl who keeps asking personal questions and loves getting reports about events, people, and keeps asking a ton of questions about what goes on in certain places.

That guy or girl who seems to want to know everything and never seems satisfied by the quantity of information they are getting, as they want more information.

I'm one of those guys. And there are many such guys and girls in the world.

Deep inside, such guys and girls tend to be incredibly frustrated because they want to know “everything” or at least to understand everything and lack of information frustrates them.

Those guys and girls could read as much as they can, books, novels and the media, as the information contained in there tends to satisfy their curiosity.

But then there's a category of people in the world who don't want information. That category of people who would rather not know. That category of people who would rather be in the dark, and who don't find stories very interesting.

That category of people has other forms of entertainment, and reading is by no means mandatory. For that category of people reading can actually be frustrating, specifically because they'd rather not know.

Is reading underrated or overrated?

A lot of jobs actually require employees who are NOT the curious type. Bar tending could be an example, where the less you know about patrons, the better. Accounting could be another example. The less you know, the better. Administration is yet another example. The less you are tempted to read the files, the better.

But then there are of course information-heavy jobs. Any CEO should technically know what goes on inside the house. In the world of finance, the more you know, the better. If you're a bank clerk, the less you know, the better. But if you're a bank manager, the more you know, the better.

So for the curious types, reading is one way to catch up with information, one of many alternative sources of information.

But then why do teachers and professors scare people away from books? That is those curious types, many of them, avoid books because they're scared the books will be tedious and confusing.

Unfortunately, it's a long chain of discouraging people from reading books. Professors had their own professors present books in complicated and difficult to read ways, and their professors presented books in difficult and complicated to read ways, and the chain goes all the way back to the Talmudic times, and even before that.

What do I mean by “presenting books in complicated ways?” Let's take an example we all love: the Bible. The Bible, the Book of Books, is a straightforward sacred book. It contains a lot of wisdom, and if you read it you will understand how society works a great deal. It's long, it contains a lot of information, from laws to epic stories to appeasing Psalms.

But, a lot of teachers won't have read the book, and start completely misquoting the book (beyond recognition) and will attribute the Bible complicated quotes that are not in the Bible.

So before the student picks up a Bible, the student might go like... uhm... the Bible will probably be a succession of complicated moral advice that I won't agree with nor will I understand.

Problem is, the Bible is not moral advice that you won't agree with or won't understand. All I will say for now is if you do read the Bible, I can almost guarantee you that you will find it spiritually uplifting.

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