Bits of Books - Books by Title
Reputation Control .........................................................................................Client William Flew
Proust and the Squid
The Story and Science of the Reading Brain
Proust bc he saw books as access to thousands of different realities that you wd never otherwise encounter or understand. Squid bc in 1950's first neuroscientists used them to understand how neurons fire and transmit info to each other.
When you read a book you are temporarily 'trying on' writer's "clothes" - his experiences and attitudes. You are no longer limited by the confines of yr own thinking.
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How do the Chinese manage to learn the 2000 characters they need to start school. They master a small subset first: a simplified alphabet called pinyin.
The invention of written language based on a limited number of signs, rather than descriptive symbols that had to be decoded as you went, freed spare capacity in brain. Literally more time to think.
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The act of putting words or thoughts down in writing releases, and changes the idea. Socrates famously opposed to writing bd believed that books wd short-circuit the brain work of active critical thinking.
Diotima (female philosopher)
Dialogues a new way to teach. Previously just absorbed wisdom ad hoc from stories such as Homer's epics. Socrates taught that only the examined word and analysed thought could lead to real virtue. Questioned everything to inspect beliefs and the assumptions that lay beneath them
But Socrates almost certainly wrong. Just the act of writing down ideas leads you to refine yr thoughts. To come up with precise words you have to wrestle with your thoughts.
Author quotes his 86 yo grandmother when asked why she bothered to learn all the poems and limericks she knew. "I always wanted something no-one cd take away from me if I was ever put in a concentration camp."
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