YOU are what you read, says a study in the International Journal of Business Administration. Read deep, think deep; read complicated things, think complicated thoughts. The world is complicated. Read simple stuff; limit your understanding to simple things. The world is not at all simple.
The best proof of the depth and complexity of your thinking is not the simplicity but the clarity with which you express depth and complexity. Simplicity is not clarity. What we really want is clarity.
Deep reading cuts into your soul and shapes you like real life experiences. Few of us have deep experiences but we can all read about them and thereby experience them; in my view better—with the wisdom of those who actually lived them and the luxury of reflection.
We may never meet wise people; most of them are dead; but we can converse with them by reading their deep and difficult writings. That is the kind of reading that changes you.
But if you read only simple stuff, it will bring immediate pleasure; but only a passing and shallow understanding of our complex world.
I am saying this because we now have a president who will influence what we read and therefore how we think. His partiality for brevity and clarity might be mistaken for superficiality and simplemindedness. This president is the farthest from that. He has lived through the most tumultuous times of our country. He has heard the tattered banners of opposing camps beating in the hurricane winds of our politics and conflicts.
He says little but speaks volumes. Taken in isolation, his surprisingly complicated words shout of the sufferings of our people, and speak faintly of the hopes they are giving up. He alludes to imperialism, capitalism, anarchy and order, judicial incapacity and extrajudicial solutions, and democracy that is a parody of itself. These words contain a history that baffles common understanding and frustrates the discovery, and the adoption, of effective solutions.
We have a thinking president. Let us make the effort to think as hard as he does.
Make no mistake. Whether he has read the situation rightly or wrongly, he will proceed to act on the conclusions he has arrived at with much hard thought and deep reflection.
So he will not stop, unless we can give him a compelling reason to stop, and also a better way to achieve the good ends he seeks.
He is old. I sense he is tired. But he is resolved that, while there is breath in him, not just to talk change like past presidents, but make change. And die in the trying.
If we do not take advantage of this man’s leadership, we shall miss our last chance of real change.