I began reading to combat the isolation I continuously felt throughout my teens and twenties. As much as I hate to admit it, I started reading so much because I found literature speaking to me. I found myself relating to the characters and wishing I were more like them, wanting their strength and courage to raise my voice against the stifling terror of social conformity, and to assert my rights and make known my desires without being punished through public shaming and ostracized for having “different” needs and wants. I also read because at the same time I was becoming a writer; penning song lyrics, short semiautobiographical sketches, and eventually poetry. Since I could not openly speak without fear of repercussion, I transferred my voice to the page and have been doing so for almost twenty-four years now.
Once I entered college I kept reading because I became an English major and minored in art history and philosophy, so the written word became a home and a tool by this time, never failing me. Literature sheltered and shielded me (not always a good thing) but it also began to foster and forge my writer’s voice, clearly making me see I was not alone, but also leading me on a quest to discover the truth as to who I am, bringing to the surface an identity, an individual that was buried within from birth but had to be salvaged like a shipwreck from the dark hollows of the sea. At the same time, reading became a compass pointing me toward the true north of knowledge and faint sparks of wisdom that can only become eternally burning flames when complemented by the beauty of experience in all its fierce infinitude. From the moment I found my way in college I have had a hunger and thirst for knowledge that knows no end. It seems that an introspective mind like mine can only be free and happy when engaged in the quiet worlds of reading and writing.
As the years have continued to dissolve one into the other and I continue to write (though this has taken quite a backseat for a number of reasons as of late) and read more and more across genres and disciplines in my search for a self and for truth, for how we ultimately got here to this point in time, I have grown astonished (to put it mildly) at what humanity has put into the world in all its various manifestations throughout its short history and am simultaneously awed and horrified at all I have seen and read. I can honestly say I know who I am and who I want to be, but have yet to bring that self, that person, that individual into the world, into society (again, for a number of reasons) but will do so in time.
In returning to why I read and ultimately to why I continue to write, the reason is because I love to learn, and a natural consequence of this seems to be a charmless desire to educate others, sharing with them all I have learned throughout my years of reading, and thinking and writing upon what I have read, seen, and experienced, discovering truths about human nature and its condition, about society, culture, and civilization, even life itself. It seems that despite my failed attempts at teaching students for a few years, there is still a strong force in me pulling on me to educate the ignorance and arrogance out of human beings, though I seek to do it through writing essays and poetry rather than in a classroom. It seems that in spite of how hard I try to ignore it and deny it, my calling since childhood has been to educate others and through the knowledge I pass on, save humanity from itself one individual at a time.
If one loves to learn about the different aspects and perspectives of human history and culture as well as human nature and experience, and one has a profound desire to seek out the truth in its myriad forms then it is only natural that one feels impelled by the spirit that dwells within the self and in all Creation to lead others to knowledge, thereby setting them on their own path to salvation and individuation through self-awareness and recognition of their purpose in the great dance of life.
Enlightenment is contagious. Pass it on.
Revolution begins one spark at a time. Get lit.