Monday, 17 July 2017

The purported supremacy of reading

(From a thread on the virtues of reading)

Aparna Krishnan Builds into the narrative to the better 'read' person being a wiser person. The Schooling narrative. Maybe that is we need to challenge today. The wisest people I have known, the most skilled, are illiterate.

Adharshila Learning Centre A lot of what you say
comes from reading - for eg. knowledge of ayurveda, your mails on Indian philosophy and spirituality. Books are definitely a source of new ideas. I strongly feel they are important and promote reading. Reading books doesn't mean only reading books and not seeing, hearing thinking beyond that.

Aparna Krishnan That strengthens the implicit superiorty of the 'schooled' over the unschooled. I challenge that. It is just one timy skill among others, and certianly not greater than many others.

Aparna Krishnan It look me time, and long years anong the 'illiterate' to understand this. In my early years in the village I used to try to 'teach the adults' ! Wiser than me, better than me. Now I learn from them.

Adharshila Learning Centre Do your villagers believe that they are better off not reading?

Adharshila Learning Centre Reading books doesn't necessarily mean breeding arrogance. That mostly happens to middle class people who have studied from elite schools. And it is also our family background, social status etc. that breed arrogance.

Adharshila Learning Centre We can challenge schooling. And the education system but reading is not confined to that.

Aparna Krishnan My point is different. We set up schools and the children of farmers come there to study. Why dont our children go to farmers to learn.

Aparna Krishnan There are very very deep seated prejudices and assumptions at work. In all of us.

Adharshila Learning Centre Exactly, this is a different point. Nothing to do with reading habit.

Aparna Krishnan It does. We the readers celebrate reading as a special skill (over all others).

Aparna Krishnan And our words carry clout, making this higher in the pecking order of skills.

Arjun Venkatraman Note that this debate is possible only through the ability to read. A farmer who cannot read might construe the poster as implying that reading provides similar nourishment to the brain as water does to plants....which I think is the message.

Arjun Venkatraman Of course, if you fill your water can (or bookshelf) with pesticide (or monothematic books) you get poisoned crops, be it brains or food.

Aparna Krishnan My point is that there are many many things that provide nourishment to the brain. We celebrate that which is our inheritence, and we give it a global importance, and we stand globally validated and empowered.

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