Read for your Life
Literature as A Life Support SystemBook - 2001
Mr Gold adroitly and expertly advocates the necessity of reading in our lives. Actually he goes as far as claiming that reading is a biological necessity in the same way as eating is. Reading is thinking, imagining, understanding, feeling and healing. It is an activity that is far from an escape or an avoidance of reality because it provides the reader the necessary relief from the ad hoc reacting and chaos of socialising by taking care of us, leading us and letting us imagine alternative lives through the complex paths of experience and language.
In this sense reading truly is a therapeutic experience and Mr Gold gives numerous examples of patients he managed to cure by giving them novels to read because they are an experiential tool for re-seeing and reordering the reader's own confusing experience. Novels take on our confusion, they bear our burdens and leave us to see the larger picture we cannot see because they offer another perspective.
Reading being the most powerful and plentiful source of information, it isn't surprising that a vital element for the survival of any totalitarian regime is to take control of what people read because language is power. Authors like Aldus Huxley, George Orwell and above all Ray Bradbury have masterfully illustrated this point in their novels, the latter showing what happens to a civilisation in which television replaces literacy. People may still be able to read but they are what we may call "literary illiterates".
No doubt Mr Gold's message is clear: we have to read for the salvation of our spirit.
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