Du-te la versiunea romana

 

 

 

 

 

So, is studying “capital” nowadays? Reading books doesn't mean you study them or learn something useful either. I mean, look at me. I read and studied hundred of books because gods, dictators or my own grandpa were repeating daily to me (as repetition is the mother of learning and those who…repeat year learn the most?!): “Learn, learn, learn!”, “Read, read, read!”. It was very important for me and my future career, whichever was to be. So, I insisted on following the path of studying hard how to undermine and question reality (for crazy people or fiction writers do it naturally, as for “professional” philosophers it takes at least four years of research during which they find this world isn't good enough for their kind anyway). The truth is my grandpa meant well when suggesting I should get blind by reading as much as I could, to be the erudite if not natively intelligent person that gathers respect. In his time to be cultured meant to be at the top of society. These days, elevation and manners deride the importance and role of reading, as showing off your wisdom is efficient as long as you prove you're informed with things present times newspapers write about. Books, TV or films should be part of… small talk, as prelude for more serious talk involving the private life of your collocutor. If that one has no patience listening all about your readings, perhaps you can find it in your heart to encourage the person to talk about himself and you – listen for the rest of the evening (seek advice in “The New Etiquette” by M.Y. Stewart). It takes courage to start with complicated topics (risk of boring people is higher) instead of small talk (see English literature vs. weather tomorrow). To manifest insensitivity towards others' attention and patience reduces chances of an educated wannabe to be considered… educated. You appear as a nerd or bookshelf mouse. Life wisdom is more than that. You need to be more than the books you read. On the other hand I believe it also takes courage for someone to integrate an interesting debate about a book or play into small talk. So, now that I realized I wouldn't ever be cream of well-bred class, I should hope for some understanding from the next category: intellectuals. They don't have to be rich or well mannered in order to be smart and know everything, but there are “no-no's” here, too. How do you think they'd react if book of the year is “Techniques of picking apples” and you bring up the word about something as obscure as “Roman civic culture”?

Let's face it: I'm no serious scholar. I don't know what I am. I read what I like and that includes unpopular topics or fat books that take ages to go through and liters of petrol for my lamp. I don't read only for the utility of knowing certain information. In fact, I'm wise enough by now to know that no wise guys I'm cleaning offices for, will give a damn about me having heard of Latin poets or IT. They've got loads of work to do and they need mind about who's going to get sacked during next wave. Still, don't you think, dear diary, it is somehow fascinating or sad when a long haired girl with red painted lips, able to comment on Sartre or Beauvoir, drags a mop around the floor and a 12 l bucket of dirty water, as well? Touching inadequacy.

So… why should I read any more books? The most I could presently achieve would be to entertain bosses bored by numbers or baby-sit their offspring and tell them ancient tales that no modern parent can mention any longer, since urging massive reading (massively meaningful) is like encouraging belief in something (be it even God) and nobody trusts or believes anything today. We read manuals and courses because they're meant to make us pass exams, but not because we believe in their truth or utility for our future, extracurricular life.

I shall read because it gives me pleasure to imagine things, I'll read when I'm lonely, when wanting to understand, laugh or cry; I read for the time someone young asks me strange questions, I read for the time when I shan't be able to read any more. I read because as my grandma noticed, books are sometimes more interesting than life and people. That is why, dear diary, I must end now my confessions and see what on earth did Asimov think when writing something called “What happens when I flush the toilet?”…

 

 

Copyright © Katiusha Cuculescu, 2004