Many a times have I had to answer to the question of “Why read when you can hear and watch”. I don’t know why people treat the two things as religions as if one was right and the other was wrong. Both have its own places in the world and what you need to do is to figure out when one is better than the other given a situation instead of saying no matter what happens, you’re only going to read all your life.
The void Easy(); (see my last post) idea will help here I hope.
Let me take two contexts and talk from those perspectives and hope that I make sense that way.
One is when you’re watching a movie while there are novels lying around. The point here is that we are trying to take a break or entertain ourselves for a while amidst a busy life (while some of us need to take a break from getting entertained all the time! But that’s not the kind of people we are talking about here). So you have two options and those are the two that I’ve said above. Watch a movie or read a story.
Well, watching is not bad because the stimuli is greater there to catch your attention with all the bright lights and ever dynamic screen while books are just a lot of same looking dull pages that only have black and white colour in them after all (I can’t believe I just said that). But as far as I am able to see, the point that we are missing is this; that when we are watching and enjoying a movie, there is just one perspective to things!
Let me try to elaborate on that. In a movie, when there is a house with a garden in front of it, the image that they put on the screen for you IS the house with the garden in its front. That one perspective. When thinking of a ‘House with a garden in front of it’ after watching the movie, all that will come to your mind is what they pictured for you.
You probably might be thinking now that if you watch more number of movies, wouldn’t you get more perspectives, right? But those are all ready made! There is no creation and innovation from your part there. Your thoughts get narrower. Your imagination shrinks. You do not spawn thoughts but live off the ones that have been given to you by others. You get the submissive attitude of thinking what has been presented to you by someone is of perfection and of great artistic value (it most certainly is always not so. In fact, it very rarely is so). In short, without you even knowing, you forget the the power of your creation and imagination. You lose the power to resist. Not in a day, mind you. But slowly.
But now come to reading. There are no ready made pictures or perspectives for you. All that you have are “some dull pages and with a black and white tint”. But there are words there! Words! Take a look at what I’ve got to say about words here:
So, in books, you find words that say, “There stood a house with a garden in front of it”. What happens the moment you have read that? Well, its not like you are mugging up the story for an exam here. You are trying to have a nice time reading it. So obviously, you need to see how the story is going on and for that, you need to have what has been written there pictured in your mind. And at that moment, you conjure up a place, a world of your own in your mind. Your mind imagines, it thinks, it works and most importantly, it innovates.
And there you go! Your mind is on a roll!
That’s what happens when you read. The more you read, the more your imagination grows. The more innovative your ideas become. The more wider your thoughts become. And you start to see things from a perspective that others are not able to. You evolve.
That was the first context. Now comes the second one.
You might have guessed by now what the second context would be. Yes. Reading text books.
I don’t know if I’m right in drawing such a fine line between these two types of reading. But hey, I’m talking from the perspective of my life till now. I hope you guys share your views as well on the subject as I’m eager to know what sort of ideas others have regarding this.
Now, when reading text books, what’re you really trying to do? You are trying to learn something, obviously. You are neither trying to be entertained nor are you trying to have a nice time. You are dedicatedly, with a lot of concentration, trying to learn. Keep in mind that I am not talking about the “mugging up” business here. And as such, you put a lot of effort and energy into the time you spend reading your text books. As such, I truly believe that these two types of reading really can be considered as two different categories.
Now my point is, while trying to understand a certain theory behind a phenomenon or the certain application of a rule, sitting and reading it won’t give you better results than visualizing it in real life. Seeing and experimenting to see the results are going to give you a much more concrete understanding of the matter at hand. This is the case where the saying, “You can’t learn to ride a bicycle by reading a book” becomes so totally relevant.
With those two contexts having been elaborated, I hope I have been able to stress upon the point that there is a time and place for everything. You really have to figure out where reading pays off and where watching and hearing pays off. Understanding the context and then deciding on the approach is how you should face it.