Roman Woman with a wax tablet for writing. Pompei. Public Domain

To a Chinese IT student. “I am glad to hear that you like reading. Of course I agree on the great fun and sometimes consolation power of reading. As you have noticed, my house is packed with books. I actually consider serious reading a pretty good substitute for religion and meditation. It is a spiritual activity that can add some depth to our everyday life. I get consolation from reading books that I find special, I get also meditation from books that make me think and/or move my emotions.

Consolation and meditation usually people find in religions: Buddhism, Hinduism, Christianity, Islam etc. Especially Far-Eastern religions teach us how to meditate, but I usually do this with books that are important or special to me. These books I sometimes read out very slowly, concentrating on every single word and sentence, or I meditate on what I read in the silence of my mind.

Book. Public Domain

Special books

The books that are special can differ according to who is reading them. I find special those books written by people whose minds are somewhat consonant with mine and more powerful than mine, thence capable of helping me in some way. Since I am not a VIP of thought and cannot directly converse with today’s top brains I build up my own Platonic symposium with good books.

Why, you ask, don’t you ever meet important and highly thinking people? Well, sometimes I do, but not so often, it’s not easy to meet them, plus I’m reserved, plus they’re so intelligent they might find me not interesting, or stupid; I know there are intelligent Tv debates and conferences, but I am talking about intimacy and continuous mind communication.

So I like many sorts of books and I read lots of them. Classics are though my favourites and I mentally hold intercourse with them. I adore classics. They are my lymph. They are my religion (literally lol). They resisted time. They are regarded as beneficial and/or fascinating even though decades or centuries (or thousands of years) have passed. Time is a merciless darwinian selector. I really doubt that Dan Brown’s books will be read in the centuries ahead.

By Tom Murphy VII. GNU Free Documentation License

Dan Brown & J.D. Salinger

Incidentally, if you like American culture (as much as I do, though it is getting too superficial) “The Catcher in the rye” by J.D. Salinger is a great little classic written by an intelligent, gifted person. I had the luck to read it in the original when I was 18. I was in Dublin at that time attending a summer English school, and this Swedish boy I was sharing the house with was about to leave. He left this book to me he had just read saying “It is full of sex and slang”, which of course made my resolution to read it rocklike. It might not be special to you. Some American people find it boring because they are obliged to study it at school. But you are Chinese.

Dan Brown‘s books are good thrillers in my view though a little bit too entertainment-oriented (in the negative sense: nothing wrong with entertainment), even if they talk about interesting things, history, religion, lots of technology and today’s stuff like NSA – a sort of IT CIA – NASA, the Vatican, which on the whole is fine, but the thing is he’s in my view making money by morally subjugating the reader with his pseudo-theories.

I am not religious but I find it ridiculous (and depressing) that some people have lost their religious faith because of his books. And it is revealing of the fact that void rules.

City Book Shelf. Creative Commons Attribution 1.0

You told me about the low percentage of Italians who speak English. It is sadly true. We are animals in this field (animals in the negative sense: nothing wrong with being an animal,) concentrated exclusively on our culture and petty politics, though something is changing.

Italian version

12 thoughts on “Power of Reading

  1. As a rule I only read fiction.

    I agree with you on Dan’s Browns books being good reads but as something to “source from” or use as information base, it fails miserably.

    I really doubt that Dan Brown’s books will be read in the centuries ahead
    That’s if Mankind exists… Pessimism, lol.

    As a sidenote, check THIS post out.. I’m sure you’ll have a laugh reading it.

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  2. >As a rule I only read fiction.
    Maybe you miss something, dear Ashish … of course fiction is great

    >If Mankind exists…Pessimism, lol
    True, Mankind is making lots of silly things, but I hope our species will survive … Optimism, lol

    Superb link, thanks (and great post by this trulydeeplymad, he seems an interesting guy). Amusing how the second Christian mocks the duality of the atheist professor. Complicated stuff though. Although I am not too interested in religious stuff (unless Roman lol), and on the whole I also agree that being an atheist is also a faith: I have seen so many militant atheists being as aggressive as militant believers in whatever religion. I prefer tolerance, which in my case has a name: agnosticism, lol.

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  3. Well I do read non-fiction like um… study books. [I’m assuming our government puts real things in there.]

    n interesting guy
    Girl. lol.

    I believe in God, I don’t believe in his self-proclaimed agents. Thats probably because God is a money making concept over here.

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  4. > a girl
    Well, ok, sometimes guy has no speciall gender tho. She seems gifted, Ashish. Is she Indian or British? The problem with you Indian guys (men and women then, lol) is that your English is most of the time perfect and most of the time very British, or so it seems to me. You learn it naturally, apparently, while Man of Roma had to toil to reach a decent level
    > I do read non-fiction um ….. study-books
    Pity. Seldom study books are stimulating. Try a classic, any. You have to get over the *negative* feeling about books and culture most schools transmit to people. I would hate classics and culture (and non-fiction lol) if I didn’t meet Magister. He taught me all I know. This blog is dedicated to him. He is no more now … 😦

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  5. Well, to begin with meditation is a term often confused with remembering the god/peace. In reality it is an attempt to gather all ur mind and energy to concentrate on any one particular thing. when I used to mediate I used to concentrate on the sounds of vehicle plying on the road… u see no gods as such..

    Regarding the question of unintelligable thoughts.. My personal belief is that my thoughts are second to none… it might just be the failure on the other side to understand it…or else I wouldn’t be here!!!
    As they say ” I am not weird the world is.”

    As for the thinking person.. it is almost intrinsic to human behaviour. And I hate it when people tell me how to think? As a human I have a brain( though cynic inside me disagrees) and I expect to use it fully with independence or else I would have been born a donkey…( refers to the species which is different from homo sapiens.)

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  6. @Falcon
    Dear Falcon, your comment, as usual, requires some good thinking in order to reply appropriately. I will try my best being on a trip at the moment, taking a train here and there. I agree with you about meditation. Of course, if you are Indian, your knowledge about it can be greater than mine. What I meant is that books help me concentrate on a single word sometimes, or just create a climate of sharp-mind attention.
    Sometimes, I confess, I find it difficult to understand what you mean, like here:

    >Regarding the question of unintelligable thoughts.. My personal belief is that my thoughts are second to none… it might just be the failure on the other side to understand it……or else I wouldn’t be here!!!

    Another thing. When you say:
    >And I hate it when people tell me how to think? As a human I have a brain (though cynic inside me disagrees) and I expect to use it fully with independence or else I would have been born a donkey…

    If I understood well, you seem not to like people telling you what (or how) to think. I do not either, of course, but we must be careful. We must not exclude dialogue and interaction with others (even just with books, which are other people’s thought), or our progress will be little or none. This is my view in any case, do not want to impose it to others lol. I know sometimes I am telling I am a teacher. Actually I was. It can be annoying – I understand – to young people who want to follow their own path (and should). I can only testify, since I was young too, that most of my (so-called lol) knowledge comes from interaction with others and from dear Magister whom I met when I was 24. I do not mean I am a Magister or a sort of Guru like he was (I am a small man, he was a great intellectual). I just testify I was only reading comics at that age when I met him (but I already liked classical music and some Greek and Latin, thanks Gods, which sort of saved me also). He in any case was much older than me and showed me a path which proved fruitful. I thank him and love him so much. If I kept my total independence, so to say, now I would be very ignorant…
    All the best

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  7. >>of course, but we must be careful. We must not exclude dialogue and interaction with others (even just with books, which are other people’s thought), or our progress will be little or none.

    Absolutely agree!!! But somtimes the personality, position or style becomes so captivating that our mind starts to accept them blindly without question!!! And this is what we should protect ourselves from. No matter who speaks, whether It’s Newton or a child we must try to reason the statements before accepting it at the face value!!!

    >>Regarding the question of unintelligable thoughts.. My personal belief is that my thoughts are second to none… it might just be the failure on the other side to understand it……or else I wouldn’t be here!!!

    That’s really a badly written statement…and I don’t know how to clarify it! May be an example can help…
    http://falcon-eyes.blogspot.com/2006/10/rain-and-logic-what-absurd-topic-isnt.html

    Even proving my point mathematicaly I have recieved flak from the intellectuals saying that my concept is entirely wrong for they are not ready to accept that so called common sense can be a very illogical step indeed! I hope u get it.

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  8. @Falcon
    >sometimes the personality, position or style becomes so captivating that our mind starts to accept them blindly without question!!! And this is what we should protect ourselves from.

    I agree with you entirely. If you get morally subjugated by some people you should be strong and endure and even escape from them. Some people actually like to dominate others. One must be very careful about it. This is life and life is hard, full of sharks and dangers. That doesn’t mean though, in my view, one must be afraid and stay isolated at home. I always preferred feedback to isolation. Some people, instead, prefer to follow their own path without *any* discussion and feedback. Thanks Gods we are free to choose. Choose what you feel is better for you deep inside.
    PS
    I cannot reply to all your questions

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  9. I think on this occasion, we are both on the same side…lol..
    Though u seem to be more passive and more receptive, I am more aggressive and less a good listener…Maybe because of the age factor… or simply because I am more a savage than you…lol. I just tried to mention the flip side…

    U need not reply to all my good for nothing questions… It’s more than enough that u r listening to me… As u rightly pointed out.. I may not listen to u at all …lol

    By the way did u Understand what I was trying to say with my example… Even if u didn’t I consider it as a failure on “my part” to communicate my ideas efficiently.

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