What is reading? Why do we do it? Does it matter what we read? Is reading a different experience if it involves reading fiction, poetry, science, history, theology, math or the ‘news’?
Do we read in order to get smarter? to improve our vocabulary? to acquire knowledge and learn new things of all sorts? Are we just human computer data collection systems or is there something else in play when we engage in the act of reading? And are ‘words’ the only things that can be read? I think not. We read body language. Hunters read tracks. The weather can be read–no, I do not mean by meterologists or weatherpeople–but by ‘people’ who pay attention to their environment. All sorts of ‘things’ can be read and deciphered for meaning.
What are we really doing when we read? Are we searching for meaning? Are we engaging in the same pursuit as Viktor Frankl?
Are we not engaging in the creative process and energy of the universe by immersing ourselves in the words/thoughts/images/understandings of another person or thing? What happens to our consciousness when we ‘read’? Is that all biology? Electricity between neurons firing with intense rapidity?
What is the role of ‘intention’? Is a writer’s intention the same as what’s meant by Buddhist intention? Is it? Perhaps so when all is said and done. Or not–depending upon contexts?
Even after the writer does their best to express themselves once the words are sent off into the world, cyberspace, publishers, mailboxes snail and email, well they rather take on a life of their own as they travel and reach their targets–intended and unintended. Does the reader ‘accept’ the words with the same mindframe as the writer? Does it matter?
Why do we strive so hard to communicate with others? Why do some forces do their best to curb communication?
Is reading not an art in itself?