Wednesday, March 3, 2010

From Fireside to Bedside

ooks.  Books surround us each and every day.  They are present as soon as we are old enough to hold them, and remain a constant in our lives for as long as we want them around.  Take what a book is, and ponder for a moment the meaning behind books.  To do this for me, I have to gaze backward to a time before written word.  To a time when the elders of the tribes of men would summon their families around them and they would weave their tales of heroism, lineage, and the world as they knew it.  Knowledge was passed delicately and respectfully down through the generations in a manner that was revered and cherished.  Then came a time when there came to men so much knowledge that they begun documenting it.  Totems, tablets, carvings and paintings began illustrating the details of history to be used as a guide for the generations to come.

Men began developing written language, and with it came a fount of knowledge never before experienced.  Scrolls could be carried to other tribes; knowledge was shared and the curious minds of men gazed beyond the borders of the world they understood.  Men found the desire to learn, and learn they did.

It is this innate thirst for knowledge that captivates me about humanity.  It is conversely what discourages me about humanity.  We have the ability to expand our horizons to lengths that no other humans have had the access to in our history.  Around us is a world full of possibilities, histories, sciences, arts; the building blocks of what has brought us to where we so comfortably sit in our computer chairs browsing our favorite meaningless websites, filling our minds with hollow information and empty promises of growth and achievement...

I am just as guilty of ignoring the possibilities that I am afforded as a privileged North American.  But to see generations ushered balefully into the positions of power in our world without the knowledge of where we have come from, what outcome can be expected but neglectful disrespect for fellow man?  How can we, as a people, ever hope to be looked back upon as respected members of the human race when our biggest contributions are achievements to better ourselves instead of bettering humanity as a whole?

When did selfishness and the Me begin outweighing neighborliness and the Us?

I began reading something recently suggested to me by my husband.  I don't often read books of this kind, and I'm beginning to question my love for books as being a love for fiction.  I believe I will have to reevaluate my love for the written word, and expand my library to include works of Self Development and not just Stephen King (wink).

For you Social Workers out there, likely you will have either read this book or something similar during your studies at whatever College or University you've attended.  I am putting it on my top 3 most recommended books of all time.

It is called This Endless Moment by Wayne C. Allen.  This is the summation on the back of the book:

"This Endless Moment is a book for people on a serious quest for their identity.  This book clears away the myths, half-truths, and misconceptions that keep us from living fulfilling, clear, and meaningful lives.  Using stories, illustrations, and common-sense advice, the author guides his readers to increasing levels of understanding and self-responsibility."

I am only 19 pages in, and I am already deeply moved by it.  I would say it will likely pan out to be the most influential book I have ever had the honor to read.  For this reason alone, I am very thankful we developed beyond story telling around the fire and gained the fortitude to document our lives with written word so that we can have books like this in our lives.

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