Books

I feel inadequate most of the time, ignorant, naive. So I read. I explore texts, converse with the authors, play with their ideas, delve into pages which become my forest of refuge, and make my home under the constellation of ideas that illuminate my interior. I feel lost. Like a wanderer in the desert. Books are my oasis. I wake, I turn, and I see my books around me. I grab one from the night before, and begin my day reading. G tosses and turns next to me. The sun drips into my room. I rise. I work. I make dinner. I get ready for bed, and open my books again. Ideas pour into me, and out of my imagination. Associations compound. I mark and highlight and notate. I look up words and references, check the citations, and buy more books.

Life is dark, and books are light. But an endless receding light. No amount of reading gets me closer to the illuminating portal I gaze after. Diffuse hazy ambient light slowly transforms into a concentrated beam which fixes my attention, which gets smaller but brighter all the time.

When my mind isn’t engaged with people and tasks, it reflects on these ideas. Ever constructing coherence to this mind which frames experience, which accommodates the pregnant possibility every moment I gaze into the world, at the world, onto the world. Books augment this frame of mind, provide ornamental structure and scaffolding to hang my perceptions upon, to yield beauty and depth to the ordinary all around me. There is an infinite abyss which gazes back at me when I stare into the world. Endless constructions that appear and transmorph from moment to moment which leave me speechless, until some “other” demands my attention, and a crystallized response takes me away.

Books contain worlds which my curiosity and wonder can’t help but explore. Repetition. Reading and absorbing ideas, impressing them deep into my soul, where they meld and mix and generate novel perspective I can call my own. I feel forever ignorant. Learning it all, consuming the knowledge, and not just reading it, but living it, gathering the primary experience which the authors report on, feels like drinking the ocean. How can I make it all stick in some impressionable way? How can I take all that I read, all that I experience, and build something useful with it? How do I shape my character and constitution in a way that gets me closer to my highest values? Reading. There are so many books, so little time. Travel. People. Work. How to do it all? How to prioritize? Reading still leaves me feeling the most ignorant, and the most empowered. I wish I could talk about everything I read, or have read. Not just popular books, but the the classic pioneers of thought who laid the foundations that humanity benefits from, but so few know it. So few know of the ocean beneath their feet. The world’s which exist under every utterance, the history and people that built these structures we all benefit from, composed entirely of ideas.

If I had one wish, it would be to read and converse and write and build upon these ideas.

But for now, and maybe forever, I am a hobbyist, an amateur, a dilettante. But I enjoy it nonetheless.

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