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A Few Words About Reading

Isn’t it amazing how we take them for granted, those little black marks on paper! Twenty-six different shapes known as letters, arranged in endless combinations known as words. Lifeless, until someone’s eye falls on them…

But then a miracle happens. Along the optic nerve, almost at the speed of light, these tiny symbols are flashed to the brain where they are instantly decoded into ideas, images, concepts, meanings. 

The owner of the eye is changed, too. The little black marks can make him love or hate, laugh or cry, fight or run away. And what do we call this incredible chain of events?

We call it reading.

Partly because it is such a complex process, reading is not just a habit or a skill; it’s a deeply satisfying emotional experience. Something in us knows that the soundest insights, the truest wisdom, the most enduring knowledge come through this channel. The spoken word rushes by and is gone, but the written word remains. It endures. It can be consulted over and over again. Forever.

How wise then to surround oneself with books and magazines.

How wise to love them, and teach one’s children to love them.

How wise to read!

From:  The True Joy of Positive Living by Norman Vincent Peale — William Morrow And Company, NY, 1984