Written By: Henry Fleischacker
“Do we haave to reead?” the common complaint goes. In a world stimulated by digital media, why is reading a book worth it? Frankly, some say that the digital world is doing to the written word what it did to oral societies, and since the written word turned out just alright, why shouldn’t the doing away of it be just as well?
Oral societies had great potential for powerful memories. If the written word made memory less potent, then the digital era has made memory less so, so much so that memory span has been all the more popular subject among the globe. This conclusion is because the digital world is removed once from the sensible world. Humans have senses, and while oral societies engage the ears and internal memory, modern cultures intertwined with the written word have enjoyed a heightened sense of sight, touch, and sound. Books engage our eyes, our touch and sense of feeling, as well as sound.
The digital era does away with touch (hence uniqueness of the vibrations of movie theater seats and game controllers) on the whole. It only appears to use touch since muscle energy is often needed. And instead it relies on a heightened sense of sight and sound, the sight being of pixels, and the sound being in correlation to pixels. But pixels are much different from the physical strokes on a painter’s canvas or the ink printed in an author’s book. Pixels can’t be felt. Thus, they are once removed from the human senses in a way that is heretofore never been experienced before. Memory is less so, sort to say, in the muscles but now is rendered only in striking digital images and sounds.
There is nothing wrong with digital media per se, but so as not to lose touch with touch, one might encourage a heightened sense of it in enjoyable readings that are physical and with printed ink on the page. Ironic that this notion comes from a digital blog article, but the point remains true. Kids are benefited down the long run when they have had all their senses engaged most aptly. A dose of reading can help cure a sense of uncertainty in regards to touch.
Additionally, reading a book is beneficial to kids because it provides length enough for a numerous set of ideas, themes, data, and so forth to be combined together for meaningful beauty to occur, the greatest examples of which are so-deemed ‘the Classics’. In a barebone way, life outside of the digital world is complex, messy, full of conflict and drama, and in need of being captured in a way that proves satisfactory for the readers. Books will engage a sense more than the digital world will, and in so-doing, books will invite a deeper sense of engaging the real world as is. Even fantasy will engage a heightened sense of meaning through touch.