Masochistic Perceptions, Trials and Truths

These are my cyberfied cerebral synapses ricocheting off reality as I perceive it: thoughts, opinions, passions, rants, art and poetry...

Wednesday, November 30, 2005

Blogging About Books on the Brain

I used to have a cartoon up on the door of my room when I was a teenager of a guy intensely reading a book in a room full of other books that were mocking him about all the stuff that they contain and that he won't ever know. I've become a version of that guy to an extent, often panicing when I near the end of something really good and have to decide what to read next. I saw Henry Rollins do a spoken thing here the other week, and he reiterated my dilema and made me feel happy that I'm not alone, though I still get pissed of at my mortality and lack of reading time. Things don't get any easier in that I can read just about anything - doesn't matter if I really get it, I still plow onward - and the cannon of my fixations have often caused me to make radical changes in my life. For example, when I was doing my BA years ago, I started reading Irish History and got so into it that I applied for an Irish work visa and buggered off to Ireland. When in Ireland I took time out to backpack around Europe, discovered the writers and History of Eastern Europe, so I moved to the former Czechoslovakia for a year and taught ESL. Certainly circumstance facilitated much of this, but it was the books that had incited me. Since then I have gone through a Freemasonry spell, become a Buddhist and am on my fourth or fifth Martial Art. Recently I even picked up a book on the history of the pipe combined with Archery, so where do you think this will compell me, given that I somewhat immersed in books on Aikido and Japanese Martial Culture (topped off by reading "Shogun")?

It blows my mind (and given my moreoftenthannot state of introspective induced nuerosis, those who know me will concurr that I am of blown mind), thinking of life without books and the fact that there are millions of illiterate people all over the globe - that is certainly a crime against humanity. It makes me mad when I see money being wasted on the perpetuation of Human suffering as opposed to investing in the greatest resource we have - the mind and it's education. It makes me sad to see, particularly in my country, the Arts trivialised to the snotty circles of the petit bougeois and our schools ushering children away from being writers, opting instead to be Engineers and whatnot. The Arts are what make life livable, and a book is the most accessable and portable of all the mediums in that you can get them from the library, take them on the bus or to bed - they allow you to travel, develop your imagination or set the clock on your VHS like a real pro.

I used to have a bumper sticker on my truck that read "Kill Your Television", and it received quite a bit of comment, including notes from strangers left on my windshield saying "right on!", etc. Perhaps that was an over generalisation as television does offer a medium to those who can't read. I think it's sad, however, at the trivial mind candy that innoculates the masses 24/7, not that a bit of junk food on occasion is bad and, arguably, there's a lot of crappy books out there. I guess what I don't like about TV is that it leaves nothing for the imagination more often than not, whereas in books you make your own pictures (unless, obviously if it is a book of photos and paintings/drawings). So don't "kill your television", but give the box a break.

Gotta go and get my fix now!


  • At 10:54 p.m. , Blogger Erin said...

    I deeply agree with you about the importance of the arts.

    Education shapes our personal and community identity. But don't forget the long history of oral tradition- even those that haven't been reached by traditional schools (the illiterate that you mentioned) still educate their own.

  • At 10:55 p.m. , Blogger Erin said...

    Oh, and welcome to the world of blogging!

  • At 10:59 a.m. , Blogger Real-E said...

    Definitely oral tradition is a great form of education and has been an integral part of cultural perpetuation throughout the globe. My commentary on literacy was not so much focused on an inability to gain knowledge so much as giving the individual the opportunity to curl up under a tree or next to a fireplace with a good book and wander away with the pages. You are totally correct on the importance of oral tradition and education.


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