Orwell feared we would become a captive culture. Huxley feared we would become a trivial culture, preoccupied with some equivalent of the feelies, the orgy porgy, and the centrifugal bumblepuppy. As Huxley remarked in Brave New World Revisited, the civil libertarians and rationalists who are ever on the alert to oppose tyranny "failed to take into account man's almost infinite appetite for distractions". In 1984, Huxley added, people are controlled by inflicting pain. In Brave New World, they are controlled by inflicting pleasure. In short, Orwell feared that what we hate will ruin us. Huxley feared that what we love will ruin us.
This book is about the possibility that Huxley, not Orwell, was right. - Neil Postman
With a tendency towards to distracted by new stimuli and the online life, I am fully aware of the problematic potentials hidden in the "infinite appetite for distractions." Therefore, I take steps now and again to limit or minimize those distractions. I have, for instance, given up using Facebook for a month, here and there, stopped playing my enjoyable video games for a spanse of time, and so forth.
And so, I think, it must be with my reading, or rather, our reading. For, I think, what and how we read is of critical importance in our life. I believe it affects how we reason and speak, and if we read widely, but shallowly, and concern ourselves only with the moment, we are more likely to be intemperate men, constantly engaged in the search for more stimulus; we may become "sight-seers", or as Aquinas said, "Sight-seeing becomes sinful, when it renders a man prone to the vices of lust and cruelty on account of things he sees represented."
I do not think deeper reading, in and of itself, saves one from sin, or perhaps even avoids sin. However, intemperance of mind makes introspection and meditation more difficult, and contemplation of the past and the future similarly more difficult, for in shallow thinking, we can consider only the immediate and the present.
All this leads up to my decision to make my news posts "once weekly." I desire to focus on better and deeper reading, which partakes more of the "permanent things," as Russel Kirk called them:
We cling to the permanent things, the norms of our being, because all other grounds are quicksand....Those who refuse it must be taught by personal experience–a hard master, as Benjamin Franklin says, though fools will have no other. . . . But if a man fortifies himself with the normative disciplines, he draws upon the imagination and the lessons of the ages, and so is fit to confront even a diabolical adversary.Therefore, on Friday evenings, I will post a series of articles I have culled over the previous week, those intended to provoke thought and conversation and to entice one to reading further of like works. I hope it will prove as interesting and stimulating to you as my daily posts have been. If you have any questions about what blogs I use for the daily reads, I will happily provide links.
As noted above, I plan to post weekly links posts. However, you may find me posting additional considerations, ruminations, ramblings, etc., at other times during the week. Just a fair warning.