Crooked Finger (crookedfingers) wrote,
Crooked Finger

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refuses the idea of time as simple succession

"I would guess that most adults who are now devoted readers began at a young age, and that they formed a good part of their essential selves through interaction with books. That is, they somehow founded their own inwardness, the more reflective component of their self, in the space that reading opened up. The space is implicit in the act of reading: It is created by the act, and the act constantly reinforces it. Again, I use the spatial analogy loosely to represent a way of perceiving the world and of situating the self vis-a-vis experience.

This self-situation of the reader is not a common one in our society. Many perceive it as deviant, even threatening. My intuition is that non-readers (by which I mean those who are able but prefer not to read) tend to see reading as a kind of value judgment upon themselves, as an elitist and exclusionary act. And there is a certain truth in that perception. Reading is a judgment. It brands as insufficient the understandings and priorities that govern ordinary life. Reading, pledged to duration, refuses the idea of time as simple succession. Reading argues for a larger conception of the meaningful, and its implicit injunction (seldom heeded even by readers) is that we change our lives, that we strive to live them in the light of meaning. This is not a message that many people want to hear, for the responsibility it imposes is crushingly great." pg. 84,85 "The Gutenberg Elegies" by Sven Birkerts

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