Ability to read - Psychology and pedagogy

Ability to read

The reader of these pages has amazing abilities, usually called literacy. You experience a shock when you remember that all our ancestors were illiterate. Not stupid or ignorant - everyone is completely illiterate. Read was considered a fantastic achievement in the Ancient World. St. Augustine wrote in the 5th century. about his mentor, Saint Ambrose, the bishop of Milan, who was so educated that he could read without moving his lips ("to himself," as we say now). Thanks to this amazing skill, he was considered the most intelligent person in the world.

Most of our ancestors were not only illiterate, they were also "arithmetically ignorant," if to denote these words with the fact that they did not know the simplest arithmetic operations. Those few who knew and knew how to use them were considered obviously dangerous people. The noteworthy warning attributed to St. Augustine is that Christians should stay away from people who can add and subtract. It was obvious that these people had an agreement with the devil to darken the spirit and plunge a person into the mortgage of the underworld - a feeling with which, according to Toffler's ironic remark, many mathematicians-fourth-year students can agree.

A thousand years have passed, and we found masters-calculators who trained people to do business in their own field. This emphasizes that many of the simplest tricks that are allowed in modern business are the result of centuries and millennia of accumulated cultural development. The knowledge gained from Chinese, Indian, Arab and Phoenician merchants, as well as from Western ones, has become an invaluable part of the traditions that business people and administrators around the world rely on today. The next generation will learn this tricks, adapt them, pass them by inheritance and then get the desired result.

However, in the computer age, reading is an art. Reading is a conversation between the author and the reader. Of course, reading (as well as in a personal conversation) is important, who is the author or interlocutor. Reading a cheap novel that does not differ in high artistic merits resembles a dream in reality. Such reading does not cause a productive reaction. The text is simply swallowed, as a television show or crisp is swallowed, which we chew, staring at the TV. However, reading the novel, say O. de Balzac, as Fromm remarks, can be productive and cause inner empathy, i.e. is a reading on the principle of being.

Meanwhile, most people nowadays, probably, read on the principle of consumption or possession. As soon as the curiosity of readers is excited, they have a desire to learn the plot of the novel: whether the hero will remain alive or die, whether he will seduce the heroine or she will be able to resist.

Readers want to know the answers to all these questions. The novel itself plays only the role of a kind of causative agent; happy or unhappy the end is the culmination of the reader's experiences: knowing the end, they have the whole story, which becomes almost as real to them as if they lived in their own memory. However, their knowledge did not become wider: the characters in the novel were not understood by them, and therefore they could not penetrate deeper into the essence of human nature or better know themselves.

The same methods are typical for reading books on philosophical or historical topics. The way of reading a book on philosophy or history is formed - or, more accurately, deformed - in the course of training. The school aims to give each student a certain amount of "cultural property" and at the end of training issues a document certifying the possession, at least, a minimum of this property. Students are taught to read the book so that they can repeat the author's main thoughts. It is in this sense that students know Plato, Aristotle, Descartes, Spinoza, Leibniz, Kant, Heidegger, Sartre. The difference between the levels of education from secondary school to graduate school is mainly in the amount of acquired cultural property, which roughly corresponds to the amount of material property that these students will become in the future.

The so-called honors pupils are the students who are able to most accurately repeat the opinion of one of the philosophers. They resemble a well-informed guide in a museum. They learn only what does not go beyond the amount of knowledge that exists as a kind of property. They do not learn to talk mentally with philosophers, to address them with questions; they do not learn to notice the inherent contradictions inherent in the philosophers, to understand where the author has dropped some problems or avoided controversial issues; they do not learn to distinguish something new that the author himself has, from all that reflects only the "common sense" the time in which he created. They do not learn to listen to the author to understand when only the voice of reason speaks in it, and when his words come at once from the mind and from the heart. They do not learn to recognize the truth and falsity of the author's arguments, etc.

People who read on a principle that suggests their own reflection will often come to the conclusion that a book that has received a very high rating has absolutely no value or that its value is very limited. They can fully understand the contents of the book, and sometimes even deeper than the author himself is capable of doing, to whom it seems important to write everything.

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