- Posted January 5, 2013 by
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The Pleasure of Reading and the Joys of Writing
It is beyond dispute that bookshops and libraries are the very reflection of learned societies. It also follows that the reading habits, not merely the pattern or pastime of its people shows the degree of their academic culture and the depth of their intellectual civilization!
Indeed, if we will not focus on encouraging our young generation to an environment of knowledge and instill in them the inherent value of disciple and worth of education, then we will be left behind in the world stage.
Books banish darkness, literature conquers ignorance, reading opens and sharpens our minds and writing widens our perspective and ultimately develops our character!
There is no scintilla of doubt that the most appropriate place for the pursuit of higher learning is no other than a university.
A university is an intellectual community wherein the primary objective is not only to teach our young to be educated, but also to gear them to become independent and critical thinkers so that they can become responsible members of society and cosmopolitan citizens of the world.
The paramount role of the school cannot be questioned, because it is the venue where the educators and teachers mould and train our young to be the best that they can be, harnessing their fullest potentials and developing their inner character.
The educator's role is not simply confined to reading to them stories, asking them to give a report and delivering lectures via Power Point presentations.
Part and parcel of being an effective teacher is to encourage the students to speak their minds and discuss and analyse critically among themselves a specific idea in conjunction with a particular lesson in a given session.
It goes without saying that our students can only do so if they keep abreast with the latest developments in all fields of knowledge.
Hence, besides encouraging our students to speak what's on their minds, the teacher must also cultivate the love of reading and the passion for books.
Such an intellectual culture would incontestably lead them to the joys of writing.
Let us not forget that in preparing our young to be the next leaders of the country, they must be armed and fully equipped with the three incontestable weapons: speaking boldly, reading voraciously and writing eloquently.
As Sir Francis Bacon famously said, “Reading maketh a full man, conference a ready man, and writing an exact man.”
It logically follows that before we become good at writing; we must possess the virtue and love of reading. The more we read, the more we are open to all kinds of ideas and thoughts!
Johann Wolfgang von Goethe aptly put it thus: “If any man wishes to write in a clear style, let him first be clear in his thoughts; and if any would write in a noble style, let him first possess a noble soul.”
Reading not only clears our thoughts, it also widens our perspective and enlarges our vision. It gives us not a narrow, limited view of reality; but an incontestably universal worldview of ourselves, of life in general and the totality of the human existence as a whole.
The act of reading will lead us to the joys and pleasure of writing. We jot down notes and scribble words not only for ourselves, but also for others.
Our duty as humans is to highlight that truth of the human condition through writing, public discourse and social solidarity!
We must encourage our young to read, write and express themselves. These are the indispensable requisites of intellect and they are virtue in themselves!
Reading opens their minds to the human condition; writing leads them to feel the profundity of their existence, the beauty of life and its corresponding daily struggles; expressing themselves develops their inner self and moral character.
Reading as a habit and as a devotion will undeniably increase our knowledge! This is both vital and potent because with increased knowledge shall arise; the visions and the improvement of our horizons that is indispensably necessary in order for us to form our own independent opinion and enlightened judgment.
Furthermore, the habit of reading undeniably shall open up our minds and consciousness in order for us to able to see things more objectively than before.
In the stirring words of June Loh of Kulim, Kedah:
“The treasure of knowledge also taught me to keep an open mind and not to accept another’s views blindly.
“Reading news and non-fiction illuminates the world for us and reading fiction gives us what non-fiction cannot.
“Through reading we travel and through books we find treasures. In those wanderings we find humanity, through the characters we find knowledge.
“As how human beings need to be fed, knowledge serves as nourishment for our minds.”
Indeed, writing built our character and individuality; undoubtedly and ultimately it completes our humanity! We find and consequently completes our humanity through those wanderings, our constant travels, various characters, in the different human conditions and though our relentless efforts in searching for the meaning of life through our continuous reading and ceaseless, passionate writing!
But after schoolchildren are done putting down their thoughts on paper, those thoughts would not have a life of their own if the teacher does not ask them to elaborate on what they had written.
That is the ultimate aim of a truly free and creative education! We must train our children not only to love reading, but also to pursue writing both as a devotion and as a craft.
That would encourage them to speak boldly, to explain in detail the product of their intellectual labours and to express freely their thoughts and ideas. The purpose of these academic exercises is paramount and priceless.
We may not yet see the outcome, but suffice to say that the seeds we plant in their young minds will not be in vain. These intellectual tools would come in handy later when they go out to live and struggle in society.
It is part of our duty as educators to arm children with all the necessary intellectual equipment early in their lives.
Our duty as humans and member of society is to cultivate the habit of reading and the encouragement of writing both as a devotion and as a craft not only for our society but for the rest of humanity!
Jose Mario Dolor De Vega
College of Arts
Department of Philosophy
Polytechnic University of the Philippines