No matter what the method of transmission, words carry our culture according to Publisher Marvin Padgett.

Of the writing of books there is no end. Believe nothing you hear, half of what you see — how much of what you read?

Stories told by the ancients from one generation to the next became scratches on stones which became scratches on parchment which became ink lying on top of parchment which became ink scratches deepening into paper which became ink pressed by wooden blocks onto paper which became ink pressed into paper by lead which became little glowing things on screens and now
. . . not so glowing things on electronic pads and magnetic “impressions” on metallicized pieces of paper. Where does it all end? Or not?

The primary vehicle for the transmission of all of the things we cherish is no longer the memories of our elders and patriarchs. Now we have electronic readers, electronic pads, and so on.

In the end the power of words remains the main thing in the transmission of culture. This is how we know where we—our culture—used to be. And where it may be now. What people like us thought, taught, and fought over. Without the “written” word we are profoundly lost. With the written word we are truly empowered to evaluate, to look around, to assess what the people and forces that surround us and attempt to dominate and bamboozle us really are.

Books, magazines, letters, etc., ultimately matter far more than the moving, talking images we see on our walls and screens. Here is the real meat of what our civilization stands upon. Without these simple hieroglyphics, we’re in big trouble.

Read, read, and read some more. Think, cogitate, ruminate about what others who are far from your comfortable little setting think or have thought. Enjoy it.

Read novels to see how imagination can bring real light to our past and present. To what others might have thought and how they might have acted.

Now read carefully. Evaluate what you read. All of us have our cultural preferences and ideas, but by wide reading we can truly look around and ask “foolish” questions that may truly probe our immediate circumstances. Learn to read. Learn to do more than translate coded scratches on a page, whether that page is made from wood or by movement of electrons. Learn to probe.

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