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Fritz Salzmann



I accidentally clicked "Branch post" on a list of ideas and the entry "Reading" by @eyegor yesterday. Apparently fate is daring me to make a list on the subject...

Here are six thoughts about reading.


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    1. Why can we?

    It takes a very special combination of skills: eyes that can follow specific sequences of characters for a long time, a brain that can process characters and create a virtual reality. Perhaps our Stone Age ancestors acquired it as trackers.

    2. The first readers

    As far as I know, writing first appeared in Mesopotamia about 5,000 years ago to record trade, shipment, and tax lists. The people who read such information did so for very prosaic purposes.

    3. Write down stories

    Who knows how long our ancestors shared stories and tales while sitting around the campfires. Long narratives like the Iliad and the Odyssey were passed on orally for a long time and were constantly embellished. Among the Celts, the druids passed on an enormous wealth of knowledge in an education in which what was written hardly played a role. This training lasted 20 years.

    Such stories have been recorded in scripture in some cultures. They found their way into sacred writings such as the Bible.

    4. Vita brevis, ars longa

    Scripture gives people the ability to record their thoughts and experiences over a very long period of time. Our languages change very quickly. However, educated Chinese should be able to read literature that is several thousand years old.

    5. Books

    Books are still the way our civilization collects and transmits knowledge. The medium has changed over time: from clay tablets to papyrus to parchment to printed books to e-books.

    6. Reading is a superpower

    I sometimes read in enthusiastic posts on social media that what billionaires have in common is that they are big readers. There could be something to it...

    Books condense the knowledge about a certain topic very well. Reading also enables us to have experiences in the virtual space of our imagination, so to speak. Through what is written, we have access to the thoughts of geniuses from ages past.

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