What is missing in these pictures?
A couple of kids, in their bedroom, fully engaged with a tablet.
People sitting on an Aeroplane with their own tapes while some dozed off and others stare at a small movie screen.
Family members with their smartphones on a dinner table.
What is missing from these pictures, and increasingly from our lives is the activity through which we learned the most of what we know of the world. What’s missing is the knowledge and information that forms our patterns of thought. What’s missing is the absolute factor that progresses the underlying growth and development of the young.
Now that importance of culture is established. We need the reading more than ever. Instead of asking others what they have read lately, people nowadays assume that nobody gets much time to read books. How did this come to happen?
Books the oldest form of print had been so prominent in our history that we could have hardly seen it coming but the problem does not lie with the publication since publishers are constantly churning out books (133,196 new titles listed in “Books in Print” in the past year) but on our change in the habit of reading. The modern-day readers read with the only goal and that is to gain a quick, conversation-enhancing topic as they try to skim through the words. The habit of reading rapidly has been a major factor in the decline of the traditional way of reading. Similarly, the newspaper that once was the morning ritual of every household has been affected significantly by the change. What’s more interesting is that young people are losing the newspaper habit even faster than their parents. “We are developing a generation that has no interest in reading except insofar as it is assigned in school,” concludes Daniel Kevles, professor of humanities at Caltech. There is a general lack of public affairs among the students.
The technological revolution is unstoppable but that does not mean the old order should fade away with it. Even though electronic media has taken over print media, we need to understand the intellectual and seriousness quotient it has on art, education, religion, politics and journalism. Reading is central to our culture. It is connected to virtually all the forces that shaped our culture. The question, as we leave the age of print for the uncharted waters of this new electronic age, is whether we risk losing much of what reading enabled us to gain.
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