One of the things that makes me the saddest is that I don’t think a lot of people like to read (anymore? that is, if they liked to read in the first place). I don’t mean to come off like a condescending grandmother, but it seems inevitable that that’s how people seem to take the suggestion to read: like you’re telling them to do something obsolete (like wear a cloth sanitary napkin or drive a horse carriage).
I read this Einstein quote at Handuraw Pizza the other day (there was a huge poster) and it said “Imagination is more important than knowledge. Knowledge is limited. Imagination encircles the world.” And it’s true. The way it’s been framed is extremely cheesy, but it is true. This is not to say that I don’t think knowledge is important–it is extremely important but I feel like knowledge is the result of imagination. We only know things via our ability to question what we’ve been taught and to be able to acknowledge that you aren’t the only person whose life matters. JK Rowling said it, John Green said, Oscar Wilde probably said something about it: imagination is empathy.
And I really think that it can change the world (yes, LOTR is also the closest thing to organized religion that I have/believe in but maybe that also helps my point): for instance, I “sprained” my back yesterday from carrying my laptop around; I was in a huge amount of discomfort but I still had to face the commute home. It was standing by the time I got onto the bus and the sideways rocking motion was making it difficult for me to balance because of the said injury. I have a pretty high pain tolerance, though so I just leaned against one of the chairs and closed my eyes. Then some guy stood up and looked at me and sort of nodded at his seat and said “Umupo ka na.” Aren’t doing nice things like that always an exercise in reading (reading people, in this case I guess: being able to tell when someone needs a seat)? I don’t mean to say people should be completely empathetic (no such thing–complete empathy would just mean you were that person) but that we should pay attention. And if there’s one thing that reading teaches you to do, it’s that. 🙂