Say NO to Flat Reading
We can list a legion of quotes on reading and enough and more has been enumerated on the benefits of reading. It will keep coming. Reading makes one think. Reading opens up the mind. Reading widens your vision. Reading is the food for the soul. OK. I’m not going to dodge you with more similar stuff. We all know what ever I’d mentioned here as samples are very true. This piece of writing is actually not on reading but a ramification on the ‘process of reading’.
By using the term process of reading I’m not going to list down tips or any personal accounts on how to read. It is not about the external preparations and conditions essential for a good and meaningful read. Instead it’s about the mental preparedness and mindset we ought to have or develop while deciding to read something -anything as a matter of fact.
The true meaning of anything that is written- an article, a news item, a column, a book or a work of fiction doesn’t shape up only from the writer’s side. It is in fact completed by the reader. The perception of the reader, on any written content, can never be free from his/her personal mind-set, ideological/political/religious view points. Hence unless the reader and the writer’s thought processes are in unison the true intention of writing could reach its destination. The text will only then be perceived in the right sense, completing the actual intention of the writing.
We might have often come across thinkers, irrespective of their field of expertise, urge us to read with an open mind. There is a chance of misunderstanding it merely as a tip to free our mind of other thoughts, readying the mind to read. If this is your perception as well, you’re in fact belittling the scope of it. Reading with an open mind in the true sense is shedding the prejudices, biases (of any kind), popular opinions, etcetera. I would like to term such readings as ‘Flat Readings’. A flat reading let you ‘know things’ but never takes you to the extent of ‘understanding’ them inwardly. Flat reading is merely a reading exercise, reading for the sake of reading.
In my opinion reading anything with pre conceived views is worse than not reading it at all. In a way such a reading habit is very fundamentalist. Reading is an alchemy that transforms the ‘you’ before reading into a ‘new you’ after. The fundamentalist approach in reading hinders this very purpose of reading. When we want reading to transform us we must approach it only with an open mind.
The usual take on reading is ‘Reading opens up the reader’s mind’. My take is, it is possible only when the reader approaches reading with an open mind. An open minded reading is reading transcended into a spiritual experience.
So BE OPEN!