The Power of Reading
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The Power of Reading

Maybe it's time to reexamine the virtues of reading?

The Power of Reading
USA Today

Although the title may sound like a library poster from middle school, I believe that there's a certain power to reading that's being lost in the era of the iPhone. I was just thinking about this the other night and trying to piece together why so many high schoolers these days (at the risk of sounding like a fossil) have cripplingly poor attention spans, little to no interest in learning as a virtue, and, as a consequence, very little intellectual ambition. When I say intellectual ambition, I'm not just talking about the high schoolers who see ivory towers and dusty libraries in their futures. I'm talking about anyone, whether they clean toilets or serve food or crunch numbers or lecture in the Ivy League. Anyone can have a sense of intellectual ambition, no matter where they punch in.

While every generation looks disdainfully on the upcoming wave of youth and prophesies the end of civilization with it, I believe that the damage done by the iPhone and its army of electronic cohorts is unchangeable at this point, and has only proved an impediment on the development of the children who grew up with these constantly-connected electronics as a staple of home life.

However, as easy as it is to sling stones and arrows at the ever-present, ever-acknowledged and ever-victorious dangers of the electronic titans that now herd the next generation's minds, simply commiserating will accomplish nothing. Like an addiction, a solution must be prepared to fill the power vacuum, so to speak.

And that solution is reading. Reading is such a powerful tool to unlocking new sources of knowledge and solidifying that information, more than a 5-minute crash course YouTube video ever could (though as a college student, I'm well aware of those videos' usefulness). Through conquering my own aversion to reading over the past year or so, I've noticed a marked difference not only in my thought processes and an expansion of my own store of knowledge, but in my temperament, my outlook on life, my patience, my ability to focus, and my comfort with unplugging for a while. This is all to say nothing of my aptitude to handle reading loads for my classes, which I know is something that many of my peers struggle with.

I don't say any of this to talk down to anyone or even to proclaim that I've found the way to happiness or success. However, I think that in this case, we don't know what we have until we've lost it. For generations, we've often taken the ability to read and understand in a meaningful way for granted, and now that it's starting to be usurped, there's an alarming lack of interest in this changing of the guard. I won't see the next generation wander into the realm of dullness under the blue glow of their screens and lose the vital ability to read.

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This article has not been reviewed by Odyssey HQ and solely reflects the ideas and opinions of the creator.

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