Quantitative vs qualitative reading

I hear of people who are in a race with themselves to read as many books as possible. I am familiar with that sort of obsession since I have done it myself in my twenties, isolated in a basement away from everyone I’d sit for hours to read. Did that for a few years. I even avoided my friends, for a couple of years there. But of course the quality of the books matters as well. Not to mention that paying attention to organizing the ideas that we read is essential. Schopenhauer once said that if you just read without giving yourself time to process what you’ve read, is similar to a library full of unorganized information.

So how do I read?

I do my best to import Logic, the laws of Logic(the law of contradiction, Excluded Middle, Modus Ponens, M.Tollens, etc) to filter out the good from the bad in a book. Logic sustains my attention in furnishing me with a critical eye. Utilizing the laws of Logic, helps us organize a body of data to see if we can make sense of that data, or rather to obtain a clear information of that data. It is foolish to simply gather a whole lot of information without integrating that information into the entire picture. Meaning, taking different aspects of our existence and comparing our efforts in those areas.

ERGO “MY OPINION” becomes an opinion governed by Logic rather than feelings. It enables me to assess the efforts that one invests in one area of his life in order to obtain something specific (let’s label it X-whatever that might be) only to come to find out that it could be the case that in another area of the person’s life, the very thing that they seek to protect is in jeopardy by promoting something against it(against X the object of desire). Since in the 21st century we are bombarded with a whole lot of data, we need to organize it and see what is worth keeping. A whole lot of data is purposeless if not reflected upon, not compared, not examined from all angles.

Our own assessment of another’s intellect is often influenced by our mental elasticity. if you don’t see where I’m going with the posts, then you can ask-that’s what the comment section is about. I enjoy questions-no need to fear. But if you don’t ask, and you’d rather choose to dismiss something as foolish, then regardless of my effort to explain myself over and over, you will not see it. Of course, your retort might be “Marius perhaps you think of yourself to be more elastic than you really are”-well not quite: I know my limitations. But within the boundaries of my capacity, I’ve put into application certain laws of logic that SHOULD govern our thinking and so my analysis of a text is not quite subjective in nature-I’ve succumbed to the laws of logic to govern my thoughts. Ergo my opinion is not quite mine but as dictated by the laws. I do not claim to fully understand, but I do fight confusion in order to obtain clarity. I find it that most people are foolish in the sense that they think that a body of knowledge=knowledge. HOWEVER:what one individual KNOWS does not necessarily entail that his knowledge is correct-it could be that he THINKS HE KNOWS -Socrates’ sole mission was to challenge people who made up their minds about what they THOUGHT they KNEW. I can understand that it could be quite scary to get to a point in life where one thinks he/she has attained knowledge only to find out the he/she is standing on shaky grounds and that he/she has to re-evaluate that which seemed to be so certain. But so what? I’ve done quite a few times-that’s where I see the key word ‘evolve’ fully take place:in reflecting on what we take to be written in stone and readjust it, complete it. Hence PHILOSOPHY.

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2 Responses to Quantitative vs qualitative reading

  1. This certainly applies to non fiction reading and maybe just a little to fiction (fiction is not always governed be only logic, it’s more like imagination+logic). But I think I see and agree with your point that just because I may read a lot doesn’t necessarily mean I know a lot…or maybe just because I read a lot about writing doesn’t mean I’m a writer or a good writer, the knowledge like you said needs to be sorted and if it’s valid knowledge then maybe applied…

  2. I made a pact to start reading more today. Three books are on my que. I can’t watch so much television that I forget to take care of my brain.

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