Reading is a meaningful and voluntary action. Awakening the desire to read is therefore an educational and cultural challenge that requires public policies to support the population, because citizens have the right to access the full use of their language (even more so in times of remote communication, when reading or not reading is has become a border). To achieve this, it is necessary to explore around several issues. Think, for example, what things happen when we read and also when we don’t read. What things are revealed to us when we read? Which remain anonymous? Because?
We know that what arrives through this global internet network must be measured in terms of quality and veracity, because anyone, thousands of people, trolls and even computer bots, post what they want and the network is full of false information, fake news with pseudo-journalistic, pseudo-scientific, pseudo-true, pseudo-artistic content that is disseminated through press portals, radio, television and social networks that, more than communication, end up being means of disinformation. There are also fake news books (writing literature is not the same as publishing a book). And even words wear out to encapsulate other concepts, or better expressed, words that are forced to declaim false meanings. Literary culture, as humanity for centuries has been repeating and deifying phrases like “Everything is in the books”, has been perverting, despite our regrets, the meanings of some words.
I have been thinking about these issues for some time, and even more so now, with this modality (inherited from the post-pandemic) of communicating online, each one in their own capsule, exposed to entire days in front of screens, with the world at a distance of a finger and several keys, creating environments parallel to the face-to-face communication reality. But it is necessary to recognize and confirm that reading and books have undoubtedly taught us in advance about remote communication. Because when reading there is no other present, there is only a relationship –distant/imprecise/unknown– with someone who is not counting in the flesh. There is a mediation written on a physical piece of paper, which is interpreted by whoever reads with their senses, that is, a process of symbolization between what is printed and the idea that the reader builds.
The words and their readings reconstruct the infinite views on the world. It is, perhaps, the most transcendent human act of creation and recreation that our species found to relate its passage on the planet, so as not to settle for a single passage through life. Perhaps for this reason, with the advent of mass schooling, the fact of “learning to read and write” were founding premises of public education, from its beginnings. It is not in vain that the sentence first affirms the action and intention of reading and then that of writing. Is reading the same as writing? No, they are two processes that dialogue with each other due to the common type of linguistic elements with which they operate (the alphabet and all its articulations between graphemes, graphisms, phonetics, semantics, syntactic relations), but they differ specifically in their function, which Define your practices.
When reading, information is always being interpreted (whether from everyday or fictional reality) in contexts of referential meanings that are linked to the reader’s knowledge. Much more is “read” than letters articulated in words and texts, because when mentally reconstructing the scenarios that are being “read” latent concepts, feelings, sensations, contexts, gestural expressions intervene, and many other previous communications are activated. On the other hand, when writing, communicative precision requires the linguistic use of common and assertive decodable standards; the intention is focused on producing specific information, typical of the scribe, whose objective is for the text to be understood by others and for a specific reason.
Whoever writes creates a message that whoever reads interprets it in their own way, especially if it is literature. Or as Umberto Eco puts it best: “In other words, a text is issued so that someone can update it; even when that someone is not expected (or desired) to exist concretely and empirically”.
Words go through us assigning an explicit value to our existence and to what surrounds us. They put us into action before the world and others. No matter how much we try to limit spaces to the vast diversity of voices that surround us –whether they are human or those of the rest of the living beings on the planet–, the words are there, sheltered, waiting for their opportunity to circulate and say what is theirs. given reveal. It is, without a doubt, the invention and practice of reading, the device that best reveals this quality of preserving memory, and even the most remarkable tool to hold on to the words of others.
*Author of Rebel Readers, published by La Crujía. (Fragment).
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