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Does Reading Make you Smarter or more Enlightened

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"Does Reading Make you Smarter or more Enlightened"
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Analytically speaking reading in and of itself does not enlighten or make one smarter. If that were true then I would be a genius by now as one of my goals as a child was to read and memorize an entire set of encylcopedias. Needless to say after reading the entire set of encyclopedias I did not automatically become smarter or more enlightened. Instead I became disillusioned and more ignorant.

Wait a minute -before you pass judgement! I, too, believed that reading makes an individual smarter and more enlightened until realizing the problems I was having in school actually stemmed from my ability to read. Yes, I read an entire set of encyclopedias and still had problems in school. How could that be you ask? Well I was reading without comprehension. I did not understand what I read so I had great difficulty applying the read lessons to my life.

For instance, I have read book after book about success but the mere reading of the books did not and have not been the root of my success. Did I get enlightened just a little-yes I did? As I understand enightenment, without referring to the dictionary, it is becoming aware of what is available to me or around me. What I have learned since I have learned to read with greater comprehension is that every book on success I have read is able to bring me to the level of success I desire.

All the methods work. What didn't work was me. I never applied any of those success lessons to my life so therefore I never became sucessful as those books claimed. This is so prevalent that many people who make claims of producing success have as a disclaimer that "you may not experience the same success as those who have given their testimonies in this document". So there you have it many people do feel they become smarter and more enlightened by reading but I have had a diferent outcome.

What reading has done for me is to provide the platform, bridge, or foundation upon which all my knowledge and education has been built. If I had never learned to read with comprehension I would probably still be functioning on a grade school level. What I learned to do over the years was to read with a purpose to learn a new skill I could immediately apply to my life. Very rarely do I read for enjoyment. In-order to grow my knowledge I read material that will enhance my knowledge base and I seek opportunities to use as quickly as possible this new found knowledge so that it becomes permanently embedded in my memory.

Does reading make you smarter or more enlightened? On the surface it does because it helps one to understand words and word usage as a language. It gives one a frame of reference from which one can base conversation. It even gives one words they can regurgitate in a conversation but it does not mean that they become smarter or moe enlightened. Answering this question in a much simpler fashion will help you understand my position on this question.

See if you can follow me in this example and excuse me if I get too personal but I need to do this to make my point clearer. Suppose I had the power and authority to send your seven (7) year old son to Iraq to fight in the war. And suppose I said son you must go and fight for me today because it is the right thing to do for your country. But I say son you are ill prepared to meet the enemy so I'm going to issue you a weapon so that you maybe better prepared when the enemy attack you. So I issue your seven year old son his rifle and tell him to read his manual on how to operate it because tomorrow you will have to fight in the battle.

Your son is a little smarter and he is a little enlightened but he is still ill prepared to meet the enemy because he has not proved his weapon. He simply read the manual but has absolutely no experience in its use. Upon meeting the enemy the next day in the field this enlightened seven (7) year old boy feels that he has a jump on the enemy because he has been smart enough to read his manual and bring his rifle. When the enemy comes he raises the barrel of his rifle and point it at the enemy he aims and gently sqeezes the trigger. Nothing happens!

Your smart and enlightened seven (7) year old son is face to face with the enemy with his rifle raised only to learn that he forgot to remove the safety which he had little knowlege of its purpose because it was briefly mentioned in the manual due to the fact that it was assumed by the author who wrote the manual that all young boys were trained by their fathers how to handle a gun.

Wouldn't it be sad to find out that just because your doctor read his textbooks you thought he was smart and enlightened only to find out when you are on the operating table that he has another manual laying beside you entitled the A,B,C' of performing your type of surgery? I hope you get my point the question that has been asked is a fair question because it asks us to make a decison between two points of view which means we should answer either or. But I choose to look deeper and add another point of view that in and of itself reading does neither make one smarter or more enlightened but more ignorant. Because if one goes to do a thing thinking he knows because he has read it in a book and he does not know how to apply what he knows in real life situations and does not know that he does not know he is about to make a grave error of judgement which may cause him or her their life.

One more thing what would you have done if you were in this situation? A co-worker of mine went to the doctor one day for an examination. When she went into the office and the doctor began to examine her he seemed to be concerned about what to do next. So he told his patient, my co-worker, not to move that he will be back in just one moment. When the doctor returned to the room he had a medical manual which he laid beside his patient, my co-worker, on the examining table and proceeded to read as he continued his examination?

Now, what would you have done in that situation-this is a real life situation that really happened? Obviously he was reading and if I follow the line of thinking the question poses he was either smarter or more enlightened-he was reading. What would you do? If reading make you smarter would you stay or go? If reading make you more enlightened would you stay or go?

Let me answer for you-all of us would have done the same thing this young lady did she got up put her clothes on and left because she felt he needed to learn how to apply his knowledge before just reading his book and practicing on her.

More about this author: Ronald Claiborne

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