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oh Ben what is the word culture being abused for, you were doing so well then I stopped.
I started again and for a refernce to the Guardian – this is not good enough.
Much better on the methodical magnificence, I like that.
It implies shutting one’s big mouth and putting one’s own opinions on hold – reading on the author’s terms – having the patience and open-mindedness to listen to what the author is actually saying, rather than what one wishes or expects to hear. Reading isn’t an interactive activity; it’s one-way.
I wonder Ben perhaps you can use that in my next job application reference, sums me up to a tea or is it tee?
I’ll stand by “culture” if you’re talking about “a culture of soundbites and instant gratification”; remember that a culture can also mean something unpleasant growing in a petri dish!
Ben – this is a great post. I think you can apply this to listening to music too; absolute submission i.e. ‘give yourself to the moment’ it can be something very profound – I think Pauline Oliveros struck something when she theorised about ‘deep listening’ – perhaps there is a ‘deep reading’ too…
Concentration and focus – yes indeed. And I agree with Behira about music too. Thank you, Ben, for advocating thoughtful reading; having been prevented from speed-reading by a classical education (where ends of words and sentences matter as much as beginnings) I’m pleased to be reassured that care and attention are important too.
Gwen, thank you for your comments. I had never seen that aspect of a classical education in those terms; my own classical education was cruelly curtailed by a combination of ineptitude and idleness on my part (for which my teachers were in no way responsible).
I had a most remarkable experience as a result of offline discussion with Behira, who mentioned a recording of TS Eliot reading The Waste Land; I was able to get hold of same, and realised on first listening (a) just how much one misses when reading from the page, and (b) how much *more* one must miss when reading prose than poetry – at least with poetry one [might presumably] expect every word to be significant.
An update on reading every word, though – it is astonishingly difficult, FAR more so than I expected – one’s brain is forever trying to finish sentences or paragraphs – and I cannot swear that I have succeeded 100% of the time, but when I have, it’s changed my experience completely. A further post will follow one of these days.
In the meantime, I believe Andy the architect wishes me to write a post addressed to my colleagues, entitled: “What part of the phrase ‘Change control is now closed’ did you not understand?”
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