on Why Reading can be Bad

Why to beware while reading books

I am not trying to convince you stop reading books. This entry isn’t a reverse psychology’s way of trying to persuade you to read books either. Just have a beer with me while to bear with me.

I once read a manual on driving a manual gear car. Needless to say that I did not learn to drive that day. Reading involves only your eyes. Hence, nothing gets stuck in the head. I mean how am I supposed to taste the country air, feel the heart beat a little faster or know how much force I need to apply/brace for without having it done previously? Yeah, some sort of instructional reading is helpful and sometimes damned necessary, but it is the action which needs to be remembered in the end.

I personally think that people today read a lot. Almost 100x more than they need to. But has it ever helped anyone? I once ‘read’ a textbook on integral calculus (it was the part of curriculum). I looked at all the formulas, the tips, the secret techniques and the various methods to calculate the solution to a differential equation. What was the result? Well, I passed (it should not come as such big of a surprise), but I didn’t learn a single thing. When I had to do the same thing again in fourier series, I actually worked out the worked out examples and finally got what was meant by ‘separation of variables’. (If you didn’t get anything from the previous two lines, it’s not your fault, reading is very unreliable way of gathering information.)

Which brings me to my second point – the unreliable nature of reading. Reading is quite a passive activity. That is why it takes a very serious effort to read at a pace where you can comprehend the text as well as not let that monkey-brain wander away. Also don’t forget those authors who tend to say a thousand things in a few sentences. Worse are those who use the cryptic double nature of words. Like a blue curtain being the expression of his/her heartbreak. We have trouble enough trying to decipher the words at face value. Please don’t add more trouble by trying to write too much between the lines.

I can imagine the so called ‘bibliophiles’ and ‘avid readers’ who will disagree with me by saying that reading stimulates the imaginative, cognitive and the memory related part of the brain. They’ll even say reading is far more healthier than watching mindless TV. But this was never the subject of discussion. I completely agree with Mr. Ralph Waldo Anderson when he said one must be very careful about what books one reads. I can not remember the source but he said something along the lines of – all the good books were that which were already found on people’s shelves: the classics. He wasn’t opposed to reading, but he wanted to read all good books; not all the books. He even made a point not to read a book which was less than a year old. I have modified it to at least a good ten years.

One more point I was hoping to address was reading the wrong books. A book has the power to change your perspective, to seduce you, to question your beliefs or even shock you if you read them with a bit too open mind. One must read a book with utmost carefulness, for they have information that might damage your sanity. Read If librarians were honest and feel the loss of words to explain the truth in the poem. Maybe you should still think twice before opening that book.

 

A Table for two : Not a date story

Basics gone wrong in mathematics

I am not a teacher. But, I like to impress little kids with my “in-depth” knowledge. I had already blown away three minds with Beyond Infinity?. This time I went for something simpler: mathematical tables.

I asked my younger cousin to write out the table of two (He is in 9th grade). He was naturally annoyed, but he wrote down something along the lines of-

2×1=2, 2×2=4, 2×3=6……….2×10=20

I prodded him further by writing it out as they taught him the first time. He went:

Two ones are two, two twos are four……..two tens are twenty.

I wasn’t done torturing him, so I asked him to kindly explain the process of multiplication as repeated addition. He gave me a ¯\_(ツ)_/¯. I explained I wanted to know that if he knew three times two equals 2+2+2 or 3×2 ? He said that it was elementary (maybe he was a Holmes fan). So I urged him (now how do you urge someone?) to kindly expand the table for two. He, for the final time gave me a look and wrote out:

2×1= 2, 2×2=2+2, 2×3=2+2+2…..2×10=2+2+2+2+2+2+2+2+2+2

I laughed my evil laugh as I knew that my cousin was successfully trapped. I proclaimed him wrong and made a cut mark across the page. The cousin wanted to know how and where he was wrong. I then made a pompous speech about how kids today focus less on learning and more on getting marks (kinda made me feel bad for putting him down so harshly).

I made him read out loud what he wrote earlier. Two ONEs are two, two TWOs are four… I knew he hit the Eureka moment then because his face lit up (and not because he ran around naked).

The correct answer was 2×1= 1+1, 2×2= 2+2, 2×3= 3+3, 2×4= 4+4……2X10=10+10. I explained that it was called the table of two not because the two was multiplicand , but rather because two was the multiplier in its table. The same went for all the other numbers as well.

Then I bowed down for the applause, having successfully made one more person’s day surreal.

My turn at word prompts

I hate these word prompts. They are a strange mix of bounded freedom. Somehow it makes me feel more entrapped than haiku, limerick or word-limit. So, to celebrate my hate towards something popular, I have decided to dedicate a special place in my blog. I know, I am acting like a hypocrite right now. But the main question is…… why did I decide to write a post after a month instead of in a fortnight? Gotcha eh! You can not predict my decisions just after ten blog posts. Maybe after 15, and definitely after 20. Yep, 20th is the new first. Now begins my actual post:

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Ummm…….Yeah…….You see. This is not what it looks like…

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*I am hesitating* ….. 😛

I know I am pathetic. But I’ll leave you with a very interesting excerpt from HPMoR.

Did some plans call for waiting? Yes, many plans called for delayed action; but that was not the same as hesitating to choose. Not delaying because you knew the right moment to do what was necessary, but delaying because you couldn’t make up your mind—there was no cunning plan which called for that.

Did you sometimes need more information to choose? Yes, but that could also turn into an excuse for delaying; and it would be tempting to delay, when you were faced with a choice between two painful alterna- tives, and not choosing would avoid the mental pain for a time. So you would pick a piece of information you couldn’t easily obtain, and claim that you couldn’t possibly decide without it; that would be your excuse. Although if you knew what information you needed, knew when and how you would obtain that information, and knew what you would do depending on each possible observation, then that was less suspicious as an excuse for hesitating.

If you weren’t just hesitating, you ought to be able to choose in advance what you would do, once you had the extra information you claimed you needed.

*Now imagine the next sentence being said in parseltongue; hissed*

But remember thiss, boy, other eventss proceed without you. Hessitation iss alwayss eassy, rarely usseful.

 

via Daily Prompt: Hesitate

An Unpopular Opinion

My Opinion on today’s blog posts.

I have been reading many “new” blogs about everything in general. A few of those were so interesting to read that I forgot to judge them objectively and just got immersed in their content. So potent was their pull that I couldn’t gather half as much attention for the other posts when I tried reading them.

Then there were some posts which were extravagantly normal (like this post). The overall flow was missing, the content was flavourless, fancy words were spit out as if being read from a thesaurus(I still think thesaurus is a type of dinosaur). My problem is that the authors wouldn’t even read their own works, or works similar to them if they even tried.

So, what should be done about this sickness that has gotten into today’s writers and poets? Fortunately, this guy ➡️ Me 😁, has a plausible answer.

*Curtain Rises* *Dramatic Music Plays* *Drum roll* *Melodramatic pause* …. CHAOS.

Yea, people today are less chaotic than they ought to be. They try so hard to be different that they end up sounding the same. Writers are now classified into various genres (maximum 8). There is so much creativity that monotonocity is missing from life. Everyone wants to read or hear new things. They are tired of being the nth level player in this (n-1)th level world. They need a daily dose of surreal and chaos to shake them out of their ordinary experience.

This can be found in the temple of chaos. Learn to embrace the chaos within you, TyP3 LyK DiS if it makes you think, stay away from your laptops and your desks, go to a factory to relax, write a post while sitting on a post, be random.
And always remember the second law of thermodynamics which makes the universe the way it is: Entropy must always increase.