Every kind of creature we find in the world is unique, and each one is unique in its own way. Humans are unique in quite a few matters. One of them is our capacity to draw on our collective experience as a species. We, as humans, learn not only from immediate happenings and sources of knowledge, but also from accounts of people who leave behind records of their learning. This is why each of us would not need to work out the law of gravitation on our own, or take a voyage around the world to see what the continents look like. We can reap the fruits of the labours of people who had come before us. We can just pick up a book.
This is why reading is so special. People who do not read confine themselves to their own narrow, limited view of the world. They only understand things that have happened to them personally in their lives, and everything else is beyond their scope. They fail to grasp the full range of human emotions, the full picture of life, the full meaning of existence. They can never stand in the shoes of another person and feel what they feel, they can never take a few steps beyond established knowledge and explore the unknown. They can never be great poets, nor great scientists. They never get out of their room, so they never see the sky.
William Wordsworth had written a poem about an unimaginative man named Peter Bell, who was never deeply moved by anything, and could never see the extraordinary within the ordinary. He wrote, –
” A primrose by a river’s brim
A yellow primrose was to him,
And it was nothing more. …”
If you are reading this blog, it is safe for me to assume that you are, like me, a reader. As readers, we know that we can never be flat, uni-dimensional, monochromatic people like Peter Bell. To us, the universe might unfold itself in a dewdrop, the voice of God might whisper in a beggar’s tune, or the dead may come alive in the carvings on a forgotten temple. Ours is the Sight to see what remains hidden. Ours is the power to feel the joy at the heart of the world, and the responsibility to bear the pain that plods deep within it. Every physical revolution is preceded by an intellectual revolution, every time we want to snap a chain binding our arms – we have to snap the chain binding our minds first. We are the vanguard of this timeless, endless intellectual revolution.
So let us wish each other luck, and be with each other to share in the adventures we come across in the pages and scenes that lie ahead. And no matter what people say, when you read – always remember… ‘Of course it is happening inside your head, … but why on earth should that mean that it is not real?’