The Written Word, Fading Away?

What do you think if someone says that reading this or that book changed their lives?

Sometimes, it may depend on the book or what they say about it. In other cases, you may wonder what they were smoking or drinking when they read the book. Or, if you’re like some folks, I know you’ll respond, “You still read books?”

Sadly, the written word may fade away at some point. Of course, some may argue that won’t happen. They’ll say people still read; they just read on their phones, their pads, or PCs. We are moving away from the written word, whether it is on paper or digital. Instead, people listen to books, stories, news, and podcasts.

Again, the written word may fade away if this trend continues. Books and other forms of the written word may continue to exist in libraries, archives, or the homes of those who cherish them. Still, the question of anyone reading them is valid.

It’s funny how my mind works. When asked if a book changed my life, my thoughts immediately went to the comments above. It made that connection because there is no way to be certain if a particular book changed my life.

I can say books changed my life. I would not have made it in a society where knowledge, wisdom, and tall tales were passed down and taught by the spoken word alone. When someone speaks and is good at it, they set the tone and emphasis. They convey the feelings the listener should take from the message.

When you read a book, your understanding of the writing sets the tone and feel you sense in the book. Yes, an author can manipulate us within limits, but still, it is how we understand the words and phrasing that matters.

That is why I say books, not a book, changed my life. When I read a book, I understood what I was reading or took the time to research what I did not understand. Then, the significance of what I read was based on what I discovered. I could not be swayed by the author’s fervor or the depth or shallowness the author might convey in person.

The same is true of other written works, from science fiction to the Bible. It is surprising what one can learn from fiction, even science fiction. Authors can pique your interest to look into their fantasies, which can lead to new knowledge and understanding on your part.

As for the Bible, you might believe it is a complete work of fiction, a fantasy created by some crazy or sly old coots centuries ago. Even if that is true, it doesn’t mean there is nothing one can learn from the Bible or by studying it. And that is true of almost any book that others find valuable or intriguing.

Yes, books, any books, have value and can be sources of learning. It will be a great loss if we pack them away or let them rot and are completely dependent on digital and audio technology.


© 2023



About S. Eric Jackson

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