Saturday, May 21, 2011

Day 233: And I Quote...

OYLPA Day 233: And I Quote..., originally uploaded by klodhie.
What is it about words and stories that make them so intoxicating? I feel sometimes I live to drink the words of others, to taste the people and events and worlds that they have created, sometimes as reflections of our own realities, always an analysis of them. It is that mixing melding intertwined quasi-reality of books and stories that I cannot stop loving. Sometimes those other places are more real than the moments I spend breathing. The imaginations and deeply passionate opinions of centuries of human beings captured through symbols.

Can you imagine? Ink on paper (or pixels on a screen) turned into shapes, put together in certain orders, creating an entire story or explicating an important ideological revolution, that have the power to change the way we view ourselves or the people around us. Dostoevsky changed me, Rushdie changed me, Austen changed me. Bronte and Mistry made me a devotee of Literature, Freire and hooks made me a teacher.

These books are a blessing I cannot imagine existing without. They are an escape, they are reality checks. They are instigators of important revolutions. They make me think and re-think. They make me think of you and our community and that one person that lives over there where I've never been and about that culture I would otherwise have known nothing about; they make me want to be better.

What happens, though, when a person reads a text, any text, without considering that it was inherently and necessarily written by a human, and thus comes with the undeniable reality that it is never the entirety of the truth, that is is subject to change as we change and as society changes? That it is always subject to our individual and independent opinions, whether we realize it or not? Isn't that what is beautiful and awe-inspiring about it? When we stop considering text as an entity subject to opinion and change, we deny our own humanistic ability to adapt, to learn, to be better, and so we take our own civilization backwards by keeping it stuck within symbols that we believe cannot be read in any way but one.

In my love of words and their ability to simultaneously be what they are and what they are not, I continue to this day to gather them when I find them. Each time I quote another, I say to the author of that thought, "You have changed me. I have learned from you. You make me better by forcing me to critically think about what you have said, and to re-consider my own reality. Thank you for giving me your words."

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