How Non-Readers Miss the Full Picture

Tl;dr may end us all.

Alex Greenwood

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In an era increasingly dominated by snap judgments and visceral reactions, the distinction between readers and non-readers has never been more pronounced. It’s a divide that shapes our discourse, decision-making, and ultimately, the fabric of society. Thomas Jefferson “couldn’t imagine a life without books.” Yet, we seem to be nurturing a generation content to do just that.

Photo by Christin Hume on Unsplash

Frederick Douglass once asserted that literacy is a pathway from slavery to freedom. There are countless forms of bondage and liberation, yet reading remains a cardinal avenue to enlightenment. Despite this timeless wisdom, we increasingly find ourselves veering away from the beacon of rationality, lured instead toward the comfortable gloom of tribal dogma.

Let’s explore the stark contrast between emotional responses and informed opinions.

Emotional Responses vs. Informed Opinions

At the heart of our societal discourse lies a fundamental dichotomy: on one side, we have visceral, often unexamined reactions driven by emotion; on the other, there is a nuanced understanding that is forged through the reading of diverse perspectives. Emotional responses, while a natural human reflex serving our basic needs, can lead to skewed perceptions of our social and political landscapes.

Consider our economy: it boasts the lowest inflation rate in the Western world, with falling gasoline prices and the decreasing cost of a Thanksgiving dinner. Despite this, a disconcerting majority feel we are on the “wrong track.” This paradox may well stem from a culture increasingly influenced by non-readers, who eschew expert opinions and the foundational value of reading, opting instead for the facile comfort of tribalism.

Comprehensive research, perhaps through polling, is needed to explore this cultural shift and its implications on societal perspectives. Relying solely on emotional responses as our navigational tool for complex social and political issues is misguided.

Reading, by contrast, serves as a sieve: it filters raw emotion through the mesh of reason, context, and evidence, leading to more grounded and…

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Alex Greenwood

PR Consultant, Speaker, Podcast Producer/Host, Editor, and Award-Winning Writer of the John Pilate Mystery Series. Accomplished belly laugher.