A long time ago I put up a post about questioning everything, intending to make it a sporadic series–it’s been so long there’s a bit more sporadic than series about posting this now, but here’s my next entry:
I’m a lifelong reader and writer so words have always been important to me. In recent years I’ve been bemoaning the deterioration of language due to texting and twitter, etc. and the loss of bookstores (worried about whether there will be books). I think I’ll always prefer to hold a book in my hands rather than a tablet (though I appreciate that I can carry dozens of books with me on my next trip by just taking the tablet, which would have been along anyway). But in my question everything philosophy I stopped to examine my strong feelings about language and books and I find myself letting go.
When I do that I always try to ask myself what would really happen if the feared outcome should happen or what would the world look like in a different scenario? In this case I started thinking about our oneness and the nature of interconnection that has largely been lost. And then I began to wonder, if we didn’t have all these words standing between us, would we be able to re-discover our connection through the web and to communicate beyond words?
I also had to admit that while a great poem or a well-written book or essay can change people’s thinking or profoundly influence a community or nation, more often words become the occasion of misunderstanding, anger and division. What if we connected through feeling tones, through our hearts? Would we care about language or be addicted to reading? For myself, would I be more calm or more at peace in some way if I spent less time with words between me and life? As soon as I can see potential great outcomes from a whole different way of looking at the world, I can begin to set down the patterns of thinking I have held too closely to notice.
Now, I’m probably going to remain an avid reader and I’ve been writing since childhood so I don’t see myself stopping and because of those truths about myself I will probably maintain some sense that I prefer to see language used properly and that I like real books better. But once I could see that my love for them doesn’t necessarily mean that they’re better or even good choices for humanity, it ceased to have the power for me that it once held.
Reading and writing are so deeply ingrained in me that it took quite a while of sputtering and fuming over the bad effect that social media has had on language skills and the potential loss of books from the world before it even occurred to me that this was one of the things that would be worth questioning. Life is full of those ingrained repositories of thoughts and feelings and beliefs that keep us from finding peace in the moment. What do you need to step back and question?