“Reading, something most of us take for granted, can help unlock remarkable powers. Reading builds new connections in the brain, which in turn allow us to use written words as stepping stones to understand other people’s worlds. A good book literally has the power to change you."
Origins of Reading
"Our ability to use our visual areas to immediately know whether that object is prey or predator is actually being recycled for us in order to be automatically recognizing symbols."
Using Nouns as Verbs
"...it's like an evolutionary tool, that's to say it raises levels of attention, it primes the mind for difficulty, and the chances are, that it may be that it leads on to the mind being ready to take different pathways from the obvious one"
"...I think that reading is a creative act in itself, as writing is, because you are creating something while you're reading it, you are bringing in your own experiences...when you can get into the minds of other characters and see what they're experiencing, it makes you better at empathizing...fiction has made me see things from other people's points of view”
Literacy and Empathy
"So, when we think of reading as purely about literacy, there's obviously another dimension to it, which is empathy."
From BBC Documentary “Why Reading Matters” documentary
Kasr al-Aini Street in Cairo, Egypt is primarily a street for government bureaucracy centers and large and lucrative local banks and other big businesses, however there are a good many small juice stands and cafes tucked away, one is called cafe Vienna.
I find I am living on this street in a quaint little house, feeling something like the way how in Calgary there are random character homes sparsely interwoven in the city core. The insides and the outer wear reminds me of a ramshackle country house. The first time I exit the home, I am immediately met by a shady individual, a rotund young white male, who offers me money in exchange for delivering a package just around the corner at the gas station. Curiously, I take the package and run inside, asking my wife what to do! She vigorously reminds me that I am being foolish so I return the package to the exceptionally inexpressive young man. He takes the package back without question and rounds the bend, after which police storm immediately.
In the next instance, we are at the house when a roommate is moving in. He is a man with dark complexion not unlike the local Egyptian man, however he seems more American in his mannerisms. He later tells me he is from Hawaii. He is a nice man. One day he helps us receive two amphibians and a fish. I am not sure why we have these creatures, however another smaller man, a caretaker of such amphibians, helps us all to cut them out of a stomach lining packaging. He says to be careful of the one as it spits mini-bullets. I take the creatures, beautiful and exotic to a pet shop, leaving them there. I return to the house only to find my wife is missing, I look all over our property in the dimly polluted urban backyard for any sign of her, staying awake in a candlelit room all night contemplating her loss. I don't feel she is dead, only that I may be in the wrong place. I am without any impetus to look. I simply wait, despite the presence of our Hawaiian roommate who offers to help.
My fingers press into each letter
with a singular stroke
My head figures weightless across shoulder and palm
holding up my brain box, short-circuiting
“What actually happened?”
“Conversations of new words
led to the experimental consciousness
as a human creation.”
- excerpt from "What Else?"