Books : Portals to the Authors mindset
I would like to start with a quote by Carl Sagan the American astronomer about books.
“What an astonishing thing a book is. It’s a flat object made from a tree with flexible parts on which are imprinted lots of funny dark squiggles. But one glance at it and you’re inside the mind of another person, maybe somebody dead for thousands of years. Across the millennia, an author is speaking clearly and silently inside your head, directly to you. Writing is perhaps the greatest of human inventions, binding together people who never knew each other, citizens of distant epochs. Books break the shackles of time. A book is proof that humans are capable of working magic.”
Books are truly a valuable resource for mankind, they provide us with instruction, knowledge , entertainment and even insight, however not all books are made equal and not all books can be guidance serving, This is why I have an immense love but an immense hatred for books all at the same time as they are not your perceptions but the perceptions of the author. It’s like this article you are reading right now, it’s in the perception and wording of me and my mind which you are reading and digesting into your mind to see my thought patterns with the words I am using. It's amazing, isn’t it? It’s coming out of my mind, turning into words and then entering your mind. You’re not thinking, I am thinking for you…as you read you are entering my mind are you not….is this not magical.
Reading gives us the power to understand people and keeps us open-minded to this simulation we call life , it shows us the thinking of the various writers that lived on the planet and what they had to say about any given theme or topic depending on when they wrote the words and what they experienced. Books take us back to the perceptions of the writer and give us ways to explore with them even to the extent that we see what they saw. Some books they say are inspired - This can be debated in non-ending cycles, e.g by god, or an angel, or written on golden tablets , scribes etcetera but the truth is they all come from the hands of human beings and had to be written at some point by humans themselves, someone, somewhere had to write it down at some point imprinted on paper or in my case on a notepad then transferred onto a computer in a format of an article.
If you have ever read fiction you will know how your imagination fills in the perceptions of the characters and how characters develop and how you can make them your own over a while or you have a liking to them even when they don’t exist outside of the book or your mind. No two people will have the same conception of characters in the book even if they are reading the same book. This should be enough to make you realise that books are books and humans are humans and humans vary in imagination.
A prime example is the Harry Potter series by J.K Rowling which I enjoyed over the years, the details, the characters, the storyline, an entire world build in the imagination of a 7 book series was entertaining and enjoyable. The same aspect applied to one of my favourite as a child, Kensuke's Island by Micheal mapargo. A story of survival , friendship and ultimately about loss, which are all aspects of human life.
Books not only can guide us but have the power to change our minds but can make us good or bad... because over the past years I have noticed people change according to the books they read but never tend to sit down and think if the writer had ulterior motives, motives based on lies and not truths but its accepted as truth because it is in a book and their own experiences they throw away and insights for what is written by others instead of investigating the claims and searching for the truth themselves and testing out the claims.
The most common observation is how people can read a certain book and then assume nobody else has read it and implement its ideals and live in this bubble of delusion that they are the only ones with the specialised insight, yet millions of other people have read it before and know what principle is being applied. They take on the book an ingest it so fast in to the mind never thinking , is is actually beneficial to me ? Does it actually make sense ? Is this the author’s opinion on his life ? Is it what they experienced ? Is it true ? Does the claim match what I see in my own life ? Will this make me a better or worse person ? No let’s just take it in an apply it instead of thinking and engaging our minds.
The worst delusion I have seen is when people follow books to the teeth and the opposition is also using the same ideas and they both using the same techniques from the book and messing each other up because the book tells them to behave a certain way so they are in this mini mindset will the same people over and over again thinking the same thing and behaving as the book tells them too because they believe it will give them what it shows without testing it out for themselves to see if it matches themselves first. It’s like if you read the books that everyone else is reading, then you will think and behave just like everyone else is consuming, so you have wasted your entire faculty of thinking and reasoning and experience of life because the book is you now, you have become the book instead of becoming you. Everyone then around you is the simulation of the book they have in printed into their own minds. It like having everyone else’s mind except for your own.
Religions have managed to do this to a certain extent. Religions that are made around books are just truly a spectacle to see. Religion has an amazing monopoly around books which makes you wonder what is going on and how people assume that if they have a particular book then it belongs to them alone and nobody else can read it and understand it because only they can because they ascribe to the faith. Even though if you ever go to a book store, eg Waterstones, you will see all the books lined up on one stack of shelves under religion. , open to anybody of any faith to read and consume. Fact or fiction, Religious or just self-help. You name it, it is just there for you to read and illuminate your mind with, but if you enter the scope of religion then you are limited to what you can read hence the monopoly over books , reading the same ones over and over and over again , until the words mean nothing and nobody has a clue what is being said , you wouldn’t do that with a cook book would you ? Would you read a brownie recipe three times day or actually go make the brownie…food for thought or at least try and figure out what the ingredients are ?
The fuss people make with ownership and reading of a book baffles me too, for example, If you have the Quran - you must be a Muslim, if you have the old testament, you must be Jewish, if you have the Guru Granth Sahib then you must be a Sikh if you have the Bhagwat Gita you must be a Hindu, If you have the New Testament you must be a Christian and so on, but I say to you my brothers and sisters what if I own all these books, I have them all, what does that make me? , I study them all, I read them all, how shall you brand me now, In your mind, how will you treat me knowing I have read your books and your inspired thinking patterns by your mystical and wise authors., what brand of faith will you stamp on me with knowing I have read your holy books and know your characters and stories very intimately and to an extent your inspired ideologies.
In the end, you should read to study, learn and reflect, but don’t be forced to believe it as true as then your own experiences would be nullified, your insight tarnished and your life experiences on this planet right now redundant. Take account of your own experiences, instinct and self-value and live this life your way and remember just because the person existed in the past doesn’t mean you have to follow them and just because it happened in the past does not mean it will happen to you , they are the perceptions of the author's mindset and you have to live your perceptions now as this is all you truly have , You are here now …
In the simplest of terms, read everything you can, illuminate with all there is but in the end, take what is good , beneficial and Inspect it for your own self. if you see it deeply then books are truly magical, with words you can change entire nations, create and destroy with a single stroke of stringed words, leading people to enlightenment, entertainment or even to worst cases to utter darkness and ruin.
I hope this inspires us to learn and develop ourselves and push you to read very carefully what you consume and what you have already have consumed in life. I have devised a book reading lens I want to share with anyone who reads and wants to inspect what they read rather than blindly follow it.
Book inspection Lens
- Is it factual or fiction - Facts help with understanding life , fiction is geared towards entertainment or imagination.
- What is the motive of the writer - All writers have motives that need to be questioned this including my self.
- Does this benefit me in life or create chaos in my mind - we can’t assume any book has the best intentions for us or for your self , you can only figure it out if you read it your self and see what it has to offer.
- Does it make claims that can be verified?
- When was this written and to what audience and purpose?
The book lens then can be adjusted to your personality and individual taste as a person.
You can add for example.
- Have I learned anything from this book?
- Is it improving my life or making it worse?
- Does this match my experience of life?
- Does it even match how I am as a person or does go beyond my intrinsic nature?
- What does it inspire ? Love or fear , greed or philanthropy.
- Can this be applied now ?
The lens above can be adjusted over time to suit your reading perception and your own values and experiences.
I would like to end with an outstanding quote by George RR Martin to ponder upon…
“A reader lives a thousand lives before he dies. The man who never reads lives only one.”.
Afzal: Servant of God Almighty: The Most High