I remember once sitting on the train while I was living in New York City, and this Japanese girl was looking at a card across from me. On the front of the card were all these Japanese characters, and I noticed she was looking at it for what seemed to me an absurdly long time. I kept thinking, “Why doesn’t she just open the card and read it?” But then I realized something… She was still reading the front of the card!!!! For me the Japanese characters were just pretty pictures to glance over, but to her they were actual letters that formed words for her to read! Nuts!
When you think about how much reading is a part of our modern western culture it is hard to believe that for most of human history very few people were educated enough to read and write. Girls in particular were rarely taught these skills and instead learned the oh so important tasks of sewing, weaving, churning butter, and giving blow jobs. What!? Where did that come from?
Being able to read empowers you in so many ways. Not only does reading allow you a sense of freedom to manipulate and maneuver in the world, but it also empowers you to take control of your own education. Think of the difference of being totally dependent on other people to learn from, and the independence of reading something yourself and having the capacity to determine its meaning from your own subjective analysis.
Socrates, however, was very much against the written word because he believed that too much was left for misinterpretation. The author cannot defend their points to the reader, and there is a danger to how people can bastardize what they read. For Socrates, dialogue was the supreme form to pursue knowledge and philosophy for it honors the quest of questioning rather than the concretization of thought through writing. But would we even have known any of what Socrates had thought if Plato hadn’t written it all down? And what if your community is full of douchebags and the most intellectual stimulus you have is through what you can expose yourself to through reading?
So considering the complexity of reading vs dialogue, I figure the best practice for me to engage The Munch in both is to read to her and then talk about what we just read. This is the problem I have encountered thus far, however. The Munch is a freaking baby and reading to her is retarded. Although she seems to enjoy it, she turns the pages too fast, flips around from the front to the back, closes the book, and then re-opens it in the wrong place. Not to mention the fact that children’s books are boring and repetitive as fuck, and when I try to talk about what the brown bear saw all she says is “ball… ball….ball…”