June 12, 2024



Why reading is still important in the 21 Century

The Jafar Gibbons Column

As time evolves, so did the inhabitants of the earth. Libraries that demanded our physical presence are no longer needed; we can access more information from online libraries. The age of technology has brought upon us some damning change, that if allowed, our complacency can be termed as lazy. I mean, what is preventing you from getting up and going to the library and seeking information from a book when you can literally find the same book online and peruse it? I know, the answer is the question, right? Well let us take the time out today to reminisce on why reading is still important today, as it was back then, regardless of the era.

For one, reading is therapy. Amidst all that is taking place in the world simultaneously, we escape when our pages are open and we are allowed entrance. Everyday, as I awake, I open my computer (yes, technology for you), and I ran to Aljazeera.com, this is my way of not only reading, but familiarizing myself with what is taking place in the world outside of my country. It is really a two-for-one deal when I do this. The next part of my therapy includes me reading the daily newspaper online (technology for you), this brings me up to date with all that is happening in and around the country while enjoying my ‘little escape’. After this is completed, I open any named book that I am reading at the time and enjoy my third escape, currently I am reading a book by Stephen Kinzer titled, ‘overthrow; America’s century of regime change from Hawaii to Iraq’.

Lessons learnt. Hardly can one say, that they have perused a book carefully and what was written had no substantial impact on the knowledge they possessed beforehand. While knowledge from a novel might differ from a book written on varying facts, one thing is for certain, you will end that book by knowing something you didn’t. I genuinely believe that if you read and nothing was learnt, you wasted a lot of time, but I don’t think that can happen, you tell me. The 48 laws of Power showed me how people hold various power over our lives by doing little to nothing at all. And while we pay little attention to these power dynamics, these things are real. The minute we attempt to change this power dynamic, we see a rebellion from those same people that we deny these powers exist. The Richest Man in Babylon is a lesson on how to deal with your finances, in about 90 pages and How Europe Underdeveloped Africa showed me how ‘modernization’ not only is a bias European concept, but it further perpetuates Caucasian dominance in the International System. Certainly, do I recommend these reads.

Eunuch, taut, furtive, licentiously, replete, lascivious, ecclesiastical, nascent. Yes, it is a statement in fact, that reading indeed increases one’s vocabulary. It is very hard for you to finish a book and not come across new words. These new or unfamiliar words to yourself, are then learnt (through inquiry), and once that happens, we then inculcate these into our speech, thus, broadening our vocabulary. The words listed to the start there are some words that I came across that was new to me, and I read more than 12 books a year! So, I share those hoping that they are new to you as well. My favorite new word is ‘pariah’, which is basically another term for outcast. I love that word for so many times I find myself being an outcast to so many things.

In an information age as we are in today, it is very important that we enjoy reading. Not only that, it important that we build a reservoir with so much words that understanding what is read, in the context that it is written, becomes synchronized. As such, fact checking is very critical to the information that we receive. In as much as we live in an information age, we also live in the age of misinformation. Just as it is easy to access information, so can misinformation be accessed, created and spread. Just yesterday I saw in some sections of the news that the US State Department deems President Ali, of Guyana, to be installed not elected. This was circulated to insinuate that the President may not have won the votes of the majority of the people living here but rather, installed with the backing of the powers of the international community, which is led by the US of course. But this is not the case to me. Upon visiting the report by the US State Department, it lamented that the PPP/C won both the national election and the most representational seats in the national assembly. It went on to state that a series of litigation, most of which was initiated by the now opposition resulted in the declaration of the election’s result being postponed. After which, the government, led by Dr. Ali was installed. This to me, represented what took place, not that he was placed there by an International community, but rather, by the electoral votes received.

For all that it is worth, try to read as much as possible, it helps. It helps me and I am sure, it can help you as well. If you don’t mind reading the soft copy, send me an email at jafargibbons@gmail.com and I will send you some great reads.