Why do we read? First, because reading is enjoyable, because reading is part essence of how we build up our minds; for those who believe that man has spirit, how we build up our minds and spirits.
When we read a beautiful poem, or beautifully constructed prose, something in our minds and/or spirits finds delight and beauty in what we read, yet the exact details of what we read largely are inconsequential. Rather, it is effect of what we read on our minds and/or spirits that is foundation of the response to a beautiful poem, or beautifully constructed prose.
Poems and/or prose provide a window into our minds and/or spirit.
We read, in part, because reading is a window into our souls, a window into our minds and/or spirit.
The other interrelated reasons why we read? It is in context of reading that we have, what perhaps are the best opportunities, for (i) mulling over credibility or reasonableness of what we already know; (ii) deducing what we ought to know that as yet we do not know; and (iii) inferring the relation between what we now read, and what we already know.
Whether it be reading of formal reference texts, novels, non-fiction books, blog posts, or articles, highlighted three interrelated ‘other reasons’ always are active in those who read with discrimination.
When we read with discrimination, we either (a) integrate what we read into what we already know, this because we deem what we have read to have value; or (b) arrive at necessity of additional information or knowledge for facilitation of a response to what we read; or (c) discard what we read, this because we conclude what we already know is, relative to what we now read, a superior stock of knowledge and wisdom.
When we read rightly then, it is not what we read that is of critical importance, rather what is of critical importance is import of what we read for what we already know, and it’s import for what we deduce that we ought to know, but which as yet we do not know.
Done right, reading is done with discrimination, with outcome it is import of what we read for what we already know, and it’s import for what we ought to know that as yet we do not know that are greatest benefits of reading.
Suppose that a person merely remembers whatever he or she reads. In such a scenario, a person is a repository of everyone else’s ideas, as such does not have ownership of any knowledge or information residing in his or her own mind and/or spirit.
If a person approaches reading in this manner, he or she just as well might stop reading, for all of the reading will not induce any beneficial transformation of mind and/or spirit.
Whenever society becomes severely factional, or seeks to induce people to become severely factional, the agenda always commences with any or all of: attempts at prevention of people from reading; a dictating to people how exactly to interpret what they read; inducement of people to read only opinions on which they already agree; and encouragement of people, in course of discussions with others with whom they disagree, to ignore anything others say, and to merely repeat, over and over again, what already is believed to be true.
Exactly how far away is American society from this ideal of a factional, tyrannical, and authoritarian society?
If you approach reading right, it is not what you read that you seek to remember, but import of what you read for whatever you already take ownership of, as your personal stock of knowledge and wisdom, and import of what you read for gaps, if any, in your personal stock of knowledge and wisdom.
We arrive then at the insight, that it is not what you read that you seek to retain, but (I) what you deem to be augmentative to your existing stock of knowledge and wisdom — this requires application of reasoning over what you read; (II) why you retained, and discarded some of what you read — clearly this is a reasoning, as opposed to a retention outcome; and (III) gaps which remain in your knowledge and wisdom — this also is a reasoning, as opposed to a retention outcome.
Out of three possible outcomes from discriminatory reading, absent application of reasoning to what is read, reading does not induce any real benefit for mind and/or spirit.
The boundaries that ought to subsist in context of accumulation of your personal stock of knowledge and wisdom?
All of the objective truth that subsists in the universe.
No matter what you read, you know that, absent rigging of yourself with appropriate devices, it is foolhardy to jump from the balcony of a 50-story skyscraper; that planting during the season for harvesting is not wise; and that night follows day, and day follows night only because the earth keeps on doing the same thing every moment of every day, which is, rotating around it’s axis, and revolving around the sun at exactly the same oval shaped distance, day in, day out, week in, week out, year in, year out, yet no two days in human experience have ever been identically alike.
Only reading that is done with discrimination has any value for ennoblement of mind and/or spirit, has any value for progressing of society towards any sort of meaningful, reasonable, pragmatic, prosperous, and restful Utopia.