One more time for the people in the back…
This subject is one that is best appreciated on an individual-to-individual basis. In other words, it is important to continually think critically about the ideas and anecdotes that I present here. Ultimately, these are just observations that I have made, and you should take your own experiences, circumstances, and needs into account when considering them and when attempting to replicate them.
Alrighty then, moving on…
In depriving myself of internet content (and chiefly frivolous/ineffectual YouTube videos), I became far more sensitive to the lure of books, from both the fiction as well as the nonfiction varieties. But before I delve into this, I should make it clear that, in my estimation, this elevated interest in the written word likely came about, at least in part, as a result of my making it come about, that is to say, through my choosing, for lack of a better word, to imagine that I might be taken on a journey as it were, or that I would learn something really neat or useful, upon scouring the pages of whatever literary works I could find. As such, my imagination acted as a sort of kindling for the effect. It wasn’t the act of abstaining alone that did it.
That doesn’t take away from the crucial role that the abstention itself played, however. The act of abstaining, of not going on distracting websites like YouTube, is what forced me, in a way, to participate in the generation of my own interest in things that weren’t web-based, to think about what could be derived from other forms of media, and thus ultimately to actually seek out those alternative sources of entertainment, pleasure, and education, believing that they would give me things that YouTube and the like simply could not replicate.
EDIT: Here I removed a paragraph in which I alluded to what some of my motivation has been in doing these streaks. In the interest of focus, I will exclude any such allusion from this particular post, and instead will save the subject of motivation for a future post, where it will be done its due justice. Thanks.
And, indeed, I often was taken on a journey, and would learn some really interesting and/or potentially useful things in the books that I would read during these brief streaks of non-usage. My mind needed content in some form, and two of the only things better in that regard than hours spent on YouTube, apart from television perhaps, were the depth of focused elaboration provided by nonfiction books, and the beautiful, provocative narratives woven by authors in their novels.
Most people these days, I would surmise, are functionally illiterate. I myself didn’t realize how bad at reading I was until I really started trying to get into it, trying to gain knowledge that I otherwise wouldn’t have been able to gain. The jargon liberally thrown about by historians and scientists in their books was something that I had to learn and get used to. The medium itself requires a different eye, so to speak, and different mental skills from those which we use while indulging in the more ordinary screen-facilitated entertainment, in order to be enjoyed and appreciated. And I suppose you have to actually engage in the activity of reading in order to develop these capacities.
Just as with any other skill or set of skills, reading skills can only be developed through practice. And you can rest assured that the endeavor to acquire those skills is a worthwhile one, for there is so much information that is exclusively found in text form as to render those who have not made a habit of reading pitifully unable to achieve certain valuable things on their own, like an improved diet for example, because a certain quantity of knowledge must be accrued before such a change in lifestyle can be made properly. Indeed, the amount of detail that, more so than of any other medium, is the mainstay of literature, is often what imparts the clarity that you need to have in order to navigate your way through this or that domain confidently and intelligently. So when you make books a more frequently used source for information in your life, it becomes more likely that you will get to where you want to go, on time and in one piece, wherever, in your personal, unique case, that happens to be.
By Sha’Kim Bush
Thanks for reading!
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And Happy New Year.