The thing about reading is that it helps your brain understand itself, which in turn, allows you to understand yourself. When you read (and I do not have scientific backing or proof, only personal observation, introspection, education, contemplation and experiences), you are not only reading the words off the page so that you do not have to listen to someone else speak them, but rather, when you read, you are teaching your brain how to think, and when I say “read,” I am nearly always speaking about nonfiction books and/or thick literature. Yes, general fiction is absolutely important and included, and I have found that general fiction can challenge the way I think, but usually it doesn’t, like the way movies are capable of challenging you intellectually, but usually, they don’t. And so, I do not rely on general fiction nor to I reach for general fiction to educate me. If a general fiction novel does educate me, then I’m all the better for it, obviously; I merely do not turn to it to educate me, like I do nonfiction and literature.
The thing about reading is that it challenges your brain to either defend itself, accept itself or change itself. A good nonfiction book embeds itself deep into your brain, gives your brain a lot to think about, and then, after your brain has come to a conclusion, after testing it against everything else you knew about the subject before, it reveals to you what you think. When you hear someone speaking to you, you are confined by the whims and speed of the person speaking, and you can read much faster than you can listen to someone reading to you. You can also see and hear reading. When hearing, you typically do not see words in your mind, so, you’re not deepening your ability to write (i.e. the expression of your mind in words), and if you’re illiterate, you definitely do not see words flashing across your mind; you see images and are incapable of writing.
And so, this is my case against relying on listening. Of course, indulge yourself from time to time, and absolutely partake regularly so that your brain is intellectually well-rounded, but don’t consume only through your ears (and yes, I mean video, too, because when you watch someone else speak, you are not reading the words coming out of their mouths, and it’s the thing about reading that makes this so important, and yes, the blind can read with their minds’ eye). When you read you consume through both your ears and both your eyes. And the thing about reading is that it goes directly into your head at the speed your brain enjoys most. You can see the words for yourself, with your own two eyes, hear the words in your head through means nobody can explain, and your brain can decipher the words of other people at the speed at which it is most comfortable. This powerful combination is the power of literacy, and in a country where nearly everyone except the severely underprivileged is taught how to read and has access to every single book ever published for FREE, I am appalled at how so few people are avid readers. It’s shameful. When you think about how oppressive illiteracy is, how it fuels inequality, Americans should care more about their privileged position of literacy by reading all the books they can get their hands on. Instead, nobody reads.
But, your life is your own; what do I care? In the end, you can keep on listening to all that consumable “information” but all you will ever learn about is the opinion of the person speaking. Why would you want to spend all that time learning about another person when you could be spending that time educating and learning about yourself. When you read a book, you are presented with information, and your brain comes to a conclusion, thereby creating your own opinion, which now makes you an educated contributor to the conversation. Regurgitating the opinions of others makes you a mere puppet, parrot, tool.
So, I suppose what I’m saying is that you should just keep listening. I’ll go ahead and keep reading so that I can be part of the conversation with my own conclusions, theories and opinions to share, while you sit back and listen all while knowing nothing about anything except the opinions of others. I prefer it this way, actually.