In this article, I want to focus on the activity of reading, in the hope that this will be helpful to you in a way or another.
Reading and writing, along with spoken language, are one of the greatest all-time achievements of mankind, greater than the invention of steam power and spacecraft, just to give you an idea.
Written communication allows us to leave to new generations a lot of information about our experiences and techniques, much more than what we were able to do when we used to transmit information orally.
Of course, this is such an ancient achievement that it looks strange to watch it as a huge technology innovation, but there is no doubt that it has been a game changer.
As a modern student, for sure you know a lot about video games, how fancy and involved they can be and how much fun is playing them.
Probably you are also an avid Internet user, video watcher and you extensively use communication apps on your smartphones like chat system and social networks, that is good, as you are a son of your times, but please do not forget about the importance of reading books for your education and your growth as a human being.
If you are already a reader, you probably know what I mean.
If you are not a reader yet….just start now, it’s never too late.
I will try to point out why reading is so much important for your education and for your life.
The book “device”
The famous science fiction writer Isaac Asimov used to challenge his audience inviting to imagine a device that “can go anywhere and is totally portable. Something that can be started and stopped at will along its data stream, allowing the user to access the information in an effective, easy manner.”
then he used to astound the audience stating that mankind already had that kind of device, it is the book !!!
From a technical point of view, a book is an extremely smart and powerful device, far from being replaced by the more recent medium.
A book presents a lot of unique characteristics that modern device cannot offer to you (yet), maybe it lacks the big storage capacity of modern devices, but that is not such an issue for the purpose it has been designed.
Books present many pros compared to an electronic device, here follows the most evident:
- It runs without electricity, forever (no need to recharge).
- Can operate at extremely high or low temperatures.
- It is very reliable and long-lasting, it can work for virtually for thousands of years, no electronic device comes even close.
- Everybody can access the information quickly and immediately.
- It is incredibly easy to use, vertical learning curve.
- It is much more pleasant and comfortable to use for your eyes.
Apart from technical details, let’s see why reading is a game changer activity for everybody.
There is a famous quote from the worldwide famous scientist Albert Einstein that says something like:
“Imagination is more important than knowledge”.
This statement could sound funny or strange at the beginning, but it is actually true, in my opinion, and in the opinion of many others..
All of our knowledge, in fact, is a consequence of imagination.
If you don’t use your fantasy to imagine new possibilities and achievements you won’t even try to start the challenge of trying to make your ideas coming to life.
A very recurring and eloquent example is human flight: how do you think it all started? With a Boeing engineer in front of a CAD system or with a romantic crazy man willing to have wings and fly like a bird?
Yes…the second is the right answer.
Also if you think about manned spacecraft we sent in the space in the past centuries have already been imagined by the writer Jules Verne in his work “From the Earth to the moon” that has been written 1865 (and in its sequel “Around the moon” as well), when it was really impossible to even think about a rocket technology.
Well…. have a look at this drawing from the book, far before the invention of the first airplane:
But this is not so uncommon, there are hundreds of inventions and social trends predicted by writers and intellectuals, have fun to research the most famous ones.
Or again: if Galileo and his fellow scientists hadn’t had the strong will to watch planets and stars from a closer perspective, the telescope would have never been invented.
That is why Albert’s statement is anything but wrong: imagination is the main driver that makes us define targets, then knowledge (or technology or science) comes as a tool to implement it out, human beings have this strange characteristic: they tend to achieve, sooner or later, things they strongly desire.
Sadly this statement is true also for shameful aspects of human activities such as wars: many technical accomplishments, in fact, take place immediately before, during or after wars, when technology is pushed beyond limits to bring destruction instead of progress and serenity, but this is subject for another article.
Reading makes you evolve.
When reading, you train your imagination and make it stronger: if imagination was a sport, reading would be one of the most important parts of the training sessions. Reading opens up your mind.
The more you read, the more cultured and evolved you get, the more you develop your imagination and independent, unbiased thinking capabilities.
This is because books give to your brain an empty canvas to fill up with your fantasy while reading, you will start to imagine the places described, the characters…all of this will take place in your mind with no limitations at all, it is like having a playground with lot of games and the freedom of doing whatever you want….no movie can give you that kind of benefit because in the movie you actually see the scene taken from the camera, you see the character, so imagination is limited.
Reading boosts your potential.
Learning new idiomatic expressions and expanding your vocabulary is much more than a way to win spelling bee contests at school.
The more you read the more potential you get to better achieve your goals and communicate with other people in an effective way, and you know communication plays a crucial role in everybody’s life.
Reading improves your:
- Concentration skills
- Listening skills (this is really a very important skill that a lot of people lack)
- Writing skills
- Understanding skills
- Communication Skills
- Knowledge skills (the number of things you know)
Reading is (a lot) of fun.
Of course, this is not the only benefit of reading books, reading is also one of the most fulfilling forms of entertainment, more addicting than video games.
In the past centuries, reading has been one of the main leisure activity for wealthy people, it used to have the same function as nowadays video games, INTERNET and cable TV.
That is why many of the best novels are dated back to the nineteenth century (i.e. from 1800 to 1900) when reading was a little bit like nowadays movies.
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