Why is our future depends on the reading and the imagination
Author: Neil Gaiman
If you have friends-mathematicians who are asking you, why read fiction, give them the text. If you have friends who assure you that soon all electronic books will give them the text. If you fondly (or vice versa with horror) remember trips to the library, read the text. If you are growing children, read to them this text, but if you just think about that and how to read to children, especially to read the text.
People are important to explain on whose side they are. A sort of a declaration of interest.
So, I'm going to talk to you about reading and that reading fiction and reading for pleasure is one of the most important things in life.
And I'm obviously very biased, because I'm a writer, author of literary texts. I write for children and adults. For 30 years, I earn my living with words, for the most part creating things and writing them down. Sure I'm interested people to read people to read fiction, to libraries and librarians, and there contributed to a love of reading and the existence of places where you can read. So I am biased as a writer. But I'm much more biased as a reader.
Once I was in New York and heard talk about the construction of private prisons - is a rapidly growing industry in America. Prison industry must plan their future growth - how many cameras they need? What will be the number of inmates in 15 years? And they found that they could predict all of this is very easy using a simple algorithm based on surveys, the percentage of 10 and 11 year olds can not read. And, of course, can not read for pleasure.
There's no direct relation, it is impossible to say that no crime educated society. But the relationship between the factors visible. I think the most simple of these links come from the obvious:
Literate people read fiction.
In literature there are two purposes:
• First, it opens your dependence on reading. The thirst to know what happens next, the desire to turn the page, need to continue, even if it is hard, because someone was in trouble, and you have to learn what it's all over ... in the real drive. It makes learn new words, to think differently, to keep moving forward. Discovers that reading itself is a delight. Once realized this, you are on the path to continuous reading.
• The easiest way to ensure children grow up educated - is to teach them to read and show that reading - is a pleasant diversion. The most simple - get the books they like, let them access and allow them to read.
• There are bad writers for children, if the children want to read them and look for their books, because all children are different. They find they need stories, and they go into these stories. Beaten-worn idea is not beaten and worn out for them. After her first child discovers for himself. Do not turn away children from reading just because you feel as if they are reading the wrong things. Literature, which you do not like - is the path to the books that you might like. And not all the same to you taste.
• The second thing that makes fiction - it generates empathy. When you watch a TV show or movie, you look at the things that happen to other people. Artistic prose - it's what you make of 33 letters and a handful of punctuation marks, and you, you're the one using your imagination to create a world that inhabit it and look around someone else's eyes. You start to feel things, to visit the places and worlds, which you would not know. You will learn that the outside world - this is also you. You become someone else, and when he returned to his world, something in you will change a little bit.
Empathy - a tool that gathers people together and allows you to not behave like a narcissistic loner.
You will also find in the books is something vital for the existence of this world. And here it is: the world does not have to be that way. Things can change.
In 2007, I was in China, the first approved by the party convention of science fiction and fantasy. At one point, I asked the official representative of the government: why? After the NF was not approved a long time. What has changed?
Quite simply, he told me. The Chinese have created a great thing if they bring the scheme. But nothing they do not improve or invent themselves. They did not invent. And so they sent a delegation to the United States, Apple, Microsoft, Google, and questioned people who came up with the future of their own. And found that those reading science fiction, when we were boys and girls.
Literature can show you another world. It can take you where you've never been. Once visiting other worlds, those who tasted the magic fruit, you can never be fully satisfied with the world in which grown. Discontent - is a good thing. Unhappy people can change and improve their worlds, making them better, make them other.
A sure way to destroy children's love of reading - this, of course, make sure that there is a number of books. And there are no places where children would be able to read them. I was lucky. When I was growing up, I had a great district library. I had parents who could be persuaded to throw me to the library on the way to work during the holidays.
Library - is freedom. Freedom to read, freedom to communicate. This education (which does not end on the day when we leave school or university), it's leisure, it's a refuge and that access to the information.
I think it's all a matter of the nature of the information. The information has a price, and the right information is priceless. Throughout human history, we lived in times of lack of information. Get the necessary information has always been important and is always worth something. When to plant the crop, where to find things, maps, history and stories - is something that has always valued for food and in companies. The information was valuable thing, and those who possess it or mined it could count on compensation.
In recent years, we have moved from a lack of information and come to a glut of it. According to Eric Schmidt of Google, is now every two days the human race makes as much information as we have made from the beginning of civilization until 2003. It's about five eksobaytov information on the day, if you like numbers. Now the challenge is not to find a rare flower in the desert, and to find specific plants in the jungle. We need help to navigate, to find among the information that we really need.
Books - a way to communicate with the dead. It is a way to learn from those who are no longer with us. Mankind has created himself developed, has created the kind of knowledge that can be developed, but not always remember. There are tales that are older than many countries, tales that have survived for a long time and the walls of the culture in which they were first told.
If you do not value the library, so you do not appreciate the information, culture, or wisdom. You hear the voices of the past and the future harm.
We have to read aloud to our children. Read them what pleases them. Read their stories, from which we are already tired. To speak in different voices, motivate them and do not stop reading just because they learned how to do it. Make reading aloud a moment of unity, a time when no one is looking in the phone when the temptations of the world set aside.
We need to use the language. To develop, to learn the meaning of new words and how to apply them, to communicate clearly, to say what we mean. We should not try to freeze the language to pretend that a dead thing to be honored. We need to use the language as a living thing that moves, which bears the words, which enables their meaning and the pronunciation changed over time.
Writers - especially children's writers - have obligations to readers. We need to write the true thing, which is especially important when we write stories about people who did not exist, or where did not happen, understand that the truth - this is not what really happened, but that tells us, who we are.
After all, literature - is a true lie, among other things. We must not bore our readers, but to do so they wanted to turn the next page. One of the best resources for those who are reluctant to read - a history from which they can not break away.
We must speak the truth to our readers, to arm them, give protection and transmit the wisdom that we had learned from our brief stay in this green world. We must not preach, lecture, ready to push the truth down the throats of our readers, as birds that feed their chicks pre-chewed worms. And we must never, not for anything in the world, under any circumstances, to write for children that we would not want to read yourself.
All of us - adults and children, writers and readers - have a dream. We need to invent. It is easy to pretend that no one can change, that we live in a world where society is enormous, and the person is nothing less than an atom in the wall, a grain in the rice fields. But the truth is that the person change the world again and again, the person creating the future, and they do this by imagining that things can be different.
Look. I'm serious. Stop for a moment and look at the room where you are. I want to show something so obvious that it has all been forgotten. Here it is: everything you see, including the walls, it was at some point invented. Someone decided that it is much easier to sit on the chair than on the ground, and came up with a chair. Someone had to think of a way that I could talk to you all in London right now, without the risk of getting wet. This room and all things in it, all the things in the building, in this city there, because again and again, people come up with something.
We need to make things beautiful. Do not make the world uglier than he was before us, devastate the oceans, not to transfer our problems to the next generation. We must clean up after themselves, and not to leave our children a world that we are so stupid spoiled, robbed and mutilated.
Albert Einstein once asked how we can make our children smarter. His answer was simple and wise. If you want your children to be smart, he said, read them stories. If you want to be more intelligent, read them more fairy tales. He understood the value of reading and imagination.
I hope that we can pass on to our children a world where they will be read, and they will be read, where they will imagine and understand