Books and Reality
And books again
I am as confirmed a bibliophile as I am a scribbler. But books and bookishness can appear in an unfavorable light. I may call myself a bibliophile, but others will say 'bookworm.' My mother, seeing me reading, more than once recommended that I go outside and do something. What the old lady didn't appreciate was that mine was a higher doing, and that I was preparing myself to live by my wits and avoid grunt jobs, which is what I succeeded in doing.
All things human are ambiguous and so it is with books and bookishness by which I mean their reading, writing, buying, selling, trading, admiring, collecting, cataloging, treasuring, fingering, storing, and protecting. Verbiage, endless verbiage! Dusty tomes and dry paper from floor to ceiling! Whether written or spoken, words appear at one or more removes from reality, assuming one knows what that is.
But what exactly is it, this thing they call reality, and where is it to be found? In raw sensation? In thoughtless action? In contemplative inaction? In amoral animal vitality? In the fool's paradise of travel? In the diaspora of entertainment and amusement? In the piling up of consumer goods? In lust for land and loot? In finite competitive selfhood? In the quest for name and fame? Is it to be found at all, or rather made? Is it to be discovered or decided?
It appears that we are back to our 'unreal' questions about reality and the real, questions that are asked and answered at the level of thought and written about in books, books, and more books . . . .
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