Wisdom can be gained best through absorbing words from developed voices outside oneself. By prioritizing reading we are expanding our minds through the experiences of others. Reading not only educates a person by imparting information, it also opens the door to a larger view of humanity.
Literature, like other forms of media, invites strangers into a new world without judgment. It relates to us by illuminating choices taken and showing truths through another’s eyes. As George R. R. Martin comments:
‘A reader lives a thousand lives before he dies. The man who never reads lives only once.’
The reader is not limited to time and culture. From lost eras to inaccessible royal assemblies, all can be reached when captured in a book and made available to the masses. This can be a dangerous concept, as is the reason for bans of certain tomes in restricted countries.
Every text has an agenda and is to be examined critically. John Green says that the priority is communication, whether from current personalities or from those long gone. I agree with his saying as readers we are empowered to accept or refuse the message of the author. By exposing ourselves to various voices and evaluating reasonably, we can know ourselves and develop as people. We are privileged to a host of facts as well as insight into the psyche. We are connected by sharing common struggles or triumphs. Also, our sense of ethics is better defined as characters face dilemmas and find their way out of problems.
Do we want to be challenged? Or do we want to be narrow-minded? For those who prefer to avoid reading altogether, they are deprived of many realms of possibilities. And even reading is rendered useless when done passively, without deriving any relevant concepts or action. The advantage of reading occurs when it influences progress. Without a rich literary pursuit, civilization will falter and dim.