This is an essay by Brandon Monk.
Freud says there are two aims, death and life. Later, his pupil named them Thanatos and Eros. The two aims compete. These aims explain our actions. These competing aims explain suicide and war. They explain love and birth. They explain economics and art. These competing aims explain why a smoker smokes knowing the health hazards. They also explain why he quits.
These competing aims also explain the reader and the non-reader.
The reader has conquered the death wish while he reads. He breathes new life into himself and into the writer’s creation. The reader creates instead of destroys.
The non-reader has been defeated by the death wish. The non-reader chooses to kill an author’s creation by never letting it breath within him. Reading is a creative activity.
The choice can become conscious if you’ve been educated. In other words, if you read these words and understand the choice is between death or life then you have a conscious decision to make.
You have read the words and the argument is simple enough. Now, you understand. In the next five minutes, in the next twenty four hours, in the next week, in the next month, in the next year, for the rest of your life, you have a choice to make. Even if you never had the choice to make before, you have it to make now.
This is not semantics. This is a recognition of the battle going on in your mind. You will not win the battle and choose life every time, but since you know what is at stake you will win more often than you did before. Choose life. Read.
Photo by Paul Jarvis.