Recently I received a list of very interesting questions, and would like to respond to them here! If you have any interesting question, or if you feel like talking feel free to email me or leave a message, would Love to hear from you!
1. Do we read to “gain knowledge,” or do we read to develop “understanding.” Is there any difference between the two.
Yes, there is a difference between knowledge and understanding. According to me, understanding is way deeper than knowledge.
Coming to the contribution of books in a person’s knowledge or understanding, I believe it is up to the reader as to whether they just read the words and gain the knowledge on the surface, or do they read the finer nuances that are hidden, go behind the written word and get an understanding…one book can mean different things to different people…a reader unconsciously adds his/her perspective which adds a dimension to the book.
2. How do we gain knowledge with reference to a particular thing that we read.
Usually, if I find some interesting reference or read about someone I find particularly interesting, I use Google, Wikipedia, youtube or Tedx talks etc to understand the reference/person better.
–Should we accept in total what that piece of writing puts forward.
No. Just because it is published, does not mean it is fact. It needs a proper reference check, different view points also need to be considered (if any) and then one should formulate one’s own opinion after through consideration from all the references.
–What happens when the next piece that we read advocates “something different”.
In this case, we use our gut/knowledge and think for ourselves which part resonates more to us…it may be either each one completely or we could choose to take good points from both. Totally depends on the context.
3. How do we choose what to read. Do our beliefs influence our choice (or preference) of what we read, or should it be the other way round, that is, our reading should go on to influence our belief, that too, up to what extent.
From my limited observation, I have come across readers of both kinds actually.
What I have observed is that those who read from childhood usually are the ones whose beliefs have been shaped by the books they read. And this usually is very gradual, how they move from children’s books, to stories, then novels…their beliefs also evolve and sharpen throughout this transition.
While on the other hand, there are those readers who pick up their first book well into their adulthood. These readers usually pick up books based on their preconceived beliefs and preferences.
While the first kind of readers would be more open to try out new genres, rarely do the second type venture out of their comfort zone.
Coming to the later part of the question, yes, reading should influence a person’s beliefs. But, a person should be intelligent enough to decide what he should be influenced by and what he should take with a grain of salt. A person should not be influenced with anything and everything he comes across, reading or otherwise, that would just lead to him being in a state of constant confusion…and as long as one knows and thinks for himself, there is no limit to the wonders that he could be influenced by.
4. Is it preferable to read “just for the joy of reading,” accept what the writer says, but, keep away from “adopting it” immediately, store the same in an “intermediate buffer” and deal with it when an appropriate “life situation” is faced and only adopt it or adept it or adapt to it at that time only.
Yes…not every read has to resonate with one’s intellect..sometimes its OK to read something light once in a while.
The question has a very large scope really…Personally,I do believe that everything that I have read has stayed with me to an extent. And whatever lessons I have learnt or should I say read about, irrespective of whether It is heavy or light, would definitely be used if I am faced with a “life situation” without a doubt. But again, this is very subjective, and I can only give my perspective.