Por Jorge Garro – Education Career Student
Humanity has always sought for a way to preserve its culture and myths, its stories and laws, its dreams and yearnings. The necessity to have a physical proof of our thoughts and ideas has transcended time itself. It has become an essential part of our civilization and the expression of the human condition.
The first forms of written expressions tell a tale of struggle between the early homo sapiens and the hostile nature that surrounded them; ancient poems like the epic of Gilgamesh, found in Mesopotamia, depicts folklore that became fundamental for the establishment of the first myths. It is possible to draw parallelisms between Gilgamesh and other early records like the Bible´s gospels, especially when contemplating upon passages that describe the creation of man and the universal flood.
Whether to preserve our culture or to transmit our emotions and desires, the written expression has always been the most reliable source of information, and despite of its importance for many centuries, reading was reserved for only a small percentage of people who knew how to read. Books used to be rare and expensive until the invention of the printer in the 15th century. Since then we couldn’t picture a world without the privilege of enjoying going through the pages of a hardcover.
Even though in the early decades of the 21st century, 90 percent of the people living in developed nations are literate, the proliferation of technology and different options to access information have relegated the practice of reading books as a second choice. Books and printed material are not regularly pursued by the younger generations. One cannot avoid thinking of this situation as a negative contribution of the passage of time; what once was a privilege has become a chore for many people who can’t find enjoyment in reading.
For the remaining few avid readers, the mystique of having a book in your hands can´t be substituted by the glare of an electronic device. The smell of the paper and the traces of ink are a fundamental part of the experience. They help bringing the passages to life. By leaving the habit of reading we have lost our sense of wonder and imagination. When analyzing the implications of this conditions we can compare it with a second age of illiteracy… and age in which most people know how to write and read, but very few consider them important. Modern times strive for visual representations and memes to express emotions, opinions and beliefs. Gone are the times of sonnets and poems, Shakespeare and Cervantes.
However, it´s important to highlight that the demand for written publications still represents profitable figures for writers and creators. There are millions of fans who wait eagerly for the next entry of their favorite sagas. Huge franchises like the Tolkien´s Lord of Rings, Harry Potter by K Rowling and A song of ice and Fire by George RR Martin, are just some examples of releases that are keeping the habit of reading alive for many.
If we are to encourage reading, we must begin by emphasizing the benefits that it can bring to one´s life once the habit is embraced. Written correspondences, such as emails and chats, are important tools of communication within an office environment; when it comes to conducting businesses, language plays a major role. An Email poorly written could be fatal for a negotiation and grammar inaccuracies could affect the confidence of your clients. Reading every day would allow us to enrich our vocabulary and make our grammar more accurate. It could provide a great advantage when having to read a speech or when you want to impress your boss with an impeccable report at the end of the month.
Communicative skills should be milestone for a current generation that, more than ever, base their social interactions in online posts, emails and chats. The love for books could change their life the and inspire emotions that they probably never felt.