By most standards, I am a voracious reader, and I enjoy spending a lot of my time reading. In fact, I would say that my idea of a holiday is reading in different places in the world!
However, when I look back at the list of books that I’ve read, even in the last few months, I realize that I don’t actually remember much. And I’m not talking the verbatim type of remembering, but just the main key points and ideas.
For instance, I’ve just finished my second (or perhaps third?) reading of Homo Deus, and while I can’t remember the precise journey of philosophical and logical arguments in the book, it has deeply effected me.
How is this possible? A large tome, most of which I don ’t remember deeply, changes the way I think about the world.
My assumption is that what is happening is that while the book, and the ideas, stay the same while I read it, I actually change when I read. The words on the page, shaping into ideas, change my own ideas about how perceive the world, and how it works, and I how I relate to both my inner self as well as the people around me.
I’ve been vegetarian for most of my twenties, and yet this wasn’t out of compassion for animals, but more of a habit. Upon reading an entire chapter of Homo Deus that is dedicated to the relationship between humans and animals, I was inspired to write an essay on vegetarianism, and also deeply think about the ethical choices I make, and especially the fact that I still consume dairy products and eggs.
And so, while this is a book I don’t remember much of, it has shaped me deeply.
So, this is why reading is not pointless. It can change our model of our we view and interpret the world around us, and if you wisely choose what you read, and more importantly, what you accept as logical arguments, it makes you a better global citizen.