On Loss and Reading Everything

From The School Of Life - couldn't cut anything out!

"There is so much to read – there are so many good books out there, and thousands of new books published each year. The pressure to read a lot can make us anxious. Montaigne developed an unusual tactic in response to the pressure to be knowledgeable: he decided to resist it. He had a few classic books which he loved and read many times; but he focused his free time not on reading but on writing small essays, which were attempts to describe what was going on inside himself. He was a bit like someone who gets ambitious about writing diary entries or blog posts. He consoled himself, and us, with the observation that the man digging vegetables in the garden was wiser than most of the professors at the Sorbonne. The gardener is wiser because the point of reading is to get better at living, therefore the gardener, who is already living well, is ahead of the professor, who is not using reading to live better.

The knowledge we need might not be waiting in books. It might be lying in our own unprocessed past experience. We all have enough experience to be wise, if we were to spend the time going over it. The barrier – the stupid distraction – is the desire to look educated in the eyes of those who try to read everything."

I felt it's compelling because I often want to read Everything. ALL the books! Yet, the angst to read everything is akin to a Fear Of Missing Out (FOMO). You choose a new pair of pants and the second you do, you wonder whether it was best and you missed out on the cool flashy green ones. In an ideal world, we think, we could buy ALL the pants. There is one reality though: We can't wear all the pants and we can't read all the books. We have to make peace with Loss. In other words, give up on some things. Odds are you'll never be a dj & a writer & an entrepreneur & a T-shirt designer - that's me daydreaming :) - and that's liberating. You need to give up on some things.

Look a your mind's allergy to the world "give up". Amazing isn't it?! Where does this visceral reaction come from?! To illustrate the emptiness of the mind, buddhist monks often use vast analogies such as an infinite number so large you will stop counting. You will give up. And the beauty of it is that it allows for the emergence of a type of focus unlike any you've known before. Choose what you're giving up on Impossible family :D