Books are Food for the Soul

10/10/2014

Why do I read books? I read because I love reading. Why do I love reading? I really can't quite say or write it in words. Let me start by saying that reading a book makes me happy. This kind of happiness is a different kind of happiness compared to acquiring worldly possessions, it's more deep and very satisfying. It embeds to the core... It touches the soul.

More than an escapism, reading cultivates dreams and ambitions. It's an alone time or it could be a group thing, but for sure it bridges communication. Reading for me is essential- like breathing. I would not know what to do with my life if I were not a reader.



Alain de Botton and his team at The School of Life  has come up with the four psychological functions of great literature.

  1. IT SAVES YOU TIME
  2. It looks like it’s wasting time, but literature is actually the ultimate time-saver — because it gives us access to a range of emotions and events that it would take you years, decades, millennia to try to experience directly. Literature is the greatest reality simulator — a machine that puts you through infinitely more situations than you can ever directly witness.
  3. IT MAKES YOU NICER
  4. Literature performs the basic magic of what things look like though someone else’s point of view; it allows us to consider the consequences of our actions on others in a way we otherwise wouldn’t; and it shows us examples of kindly, generous, sympathetic people.
    Literature deeply stands opposed to the dominant value system — the one that rewards money and power. Writers are on the other side — they make us sympathetic to ideas and feelings that are of deep importance but can’t afford airtime in a commercialized, status-conscious, and cynical world.
  5. IT’S A CURE FOR LONELINESS
  6. We’re weirder than we like to admit. We often can’t say what’s really on our minds. But in books we find descriptions of who we genuinely are and what events, described with an honesty quite different from what ordinary conversation allows for. In the best books, it’s as if the writer knows us better than we know ourselves — they find the words to describe the fragile, weird, special experiences of our inner lives… Writers open our hearts and minds, and give us maps to our own selves, so that we can travel in them more reliably and with less of a feeling of paranoia or persecution…
  7. IT PREPARES YOU FOR FAILURE
  8. All of our lives, one of our greatest fears is of failure, of messing up, of becoming, as the tabloids put it, “a loser.” Every day, the media takes us into stories of failure. Interestingly, a lot of literature is also about failure — in one way or another, a great many novels, plays, poems are about people who messed up… Great books don’t judge as harshly or as one-dimensionally as the media…
Literature deserves its prestige for one reason above all others — because it’s a tool to help us live and die with a little bit more wisdom, goodness, and sanity.
From Brain Pickings.

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