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Why Read? PDF Print E-mail
Written by Fred Jones   
Tuesday, 02 September 2008 07:59

Read a book. Blogs and news articles, or rather snippets of news, have little to offer in the way of semantics and comprehension. This is to say that to read passively, with material that offers little in the way of subtext and abstraction, will offer little compared to impassive reading material. Impassive material can be defined as, well, books and novels; short stories, anecdotes. You name it. A vast difference separates the two. This difference lies in what impassive material has to offer.

Consider the lack of impassive reading. Those with less experience with varied reading material are generally less apt to participate in abstract mediums, such as fine art and even immaterial problem solving (problems with no immediate cause and effect). Consider the benefits of thorough reading, such as a better grasp at semantics (the cognitive ability to sense rhythm in words and pronunciation) as well as an overall better understanding of language. These are not subversive side effects at all. It can be considered that a general lack of reading is a lazy choice; that is, it’s a path chosen without much control and influence, similar to the "choice" to not pursue exercise and a nutritious diet.

For anyone who seeks a better comprehension of language, or who wishes to learn the basic components of storytelling (say, for the aspiring screenwriter), reading short stories and novels is the bona fide way to start training. Not only is it readily accessible to anyone near a library or bookstore, but it is generally a free, or at least cheap, trade.

While impassive reading can boost the talents of those who seek inspiration in the field, it can also be of benefit to the everyday reader. Yes, several tests and research have been conducted to ascertain whether or not reading will boost intellect, and they have reached positive conclusions; but such tests are fallible to bias and wishful thinking. All that can be concluded and must be concluded is that reading boosts knowledge. That is an undeniable trait, the trait of learning. Nevertheless, reading is one of the few lone activities shown to stimulate intellect and challenge the brain, all while relieving stress and anxiety. Few other activities bare these traits; at least activities that do not involve a second person or more, like a game of chess. Even then, while certain games can challenge the brain (puzzles), rarely will they ever challenge the intellect.

So, why read? Or rather, why read impassively? It builds knowledge, boosts abstract and semantic comprehension, and is one of the few intellectual pastimes that can aid in relaxation. It can also be stated that willful reading helps to gain introspective thought. Confused? This is to say that a person who reads is better able to communicate internally, because the nature of reading involves constant interpretation of words, words silently spoken inside one's own mind. In stimulating our use of language by employing the brain, and not the mouth and vocal chords, it in turn stimulates our way of thinking.

So, the question is: why not read?