I can’t say that I held an aversion toward reading during my formative years, but I also can’t say that I was a voracious reader. When told to read a book for whatever reason teachers tell kids to do so, I went ahead and actually read the book. And all along the way, there were books, mostly novels, that I enjoyed reading. I recall having to read “Great Expectations” in high school and thinking, “This is cool!”, or sentiments to that effect. And I was always fond of “A Christmas Carol”, so as I actually began to seek out books to read for pleasure, I chose Dickens. Thus far, I’ve read pretty much every book he’s written and have most of them on my bookshelf. (I hope to complete the collection with copies from the same series by the same publisher, but have yet to try and contact them to see if they are still available. Otherwise, guess it’s off to E-Bay.)
What I found most enjoyable was the way Charlie would spin a tale. He’d take his time with various details, such as meals and such. And I also like the way the main characters maintained such a sense of character and morals and honor and all the attributes that were once held so precious, at least in books, if not in real life. Currently, I’m reading “The Three Musketeers” for the first time (for pleasure I’ve decided to read “the classics”), and have found the same sense of what it means to be a man of honor and virtue (though the Dumas characters aren’t really the most virtuous of men), or more plainly, what it meant to be a man. It is said that George Washington sought to be such a man and from most sources, succeeded.
What do we have now? We have anti-heroes. Stories of today, though often as riveting, often depict characters as heavily flawed, most likely in the belief that such people are more realistic. To have such people rise above their flaws and resolve the issues of the story line would possibly be something to which many might find easier to relate. It’s like “real life”.
Seems to me, that this parallels a theme in today’s culture. I’ve been told that romantic notions of how people should conduct themselves is unrealistic and that it goes against human nature and that people just aren’t like that. I suppose that might be true to some extent, but why accept it? That’s where I have a problem. In so many ways, we’re given to believe that mankind is incapable of better things. The weird part is when a person of faith speaks of us all as sinners, the same people who think that teens won’t stop having sex, that people are unable to control their desires, those same people go nuts.
But I prefer to believe that while we all are indeed sinners, we are also indeed capable of transcending our base natures and rising to become something better. The classic novels that appeal to me describe without embarrassment the ideal man and woman, those possessing a will to attain that transcended Godly character that can only leave behind a better world for having existed as such. I not only believe we all are capable of becoming more like such characters, I believe it is imperative that we work toward such lofty goals. If we aren’t actively and consciously seeking to become a force for good amongst our peers and in the world, can we possibly become better than a force for something far worse? I think it’s pretty obvious the answer is “NO!”. If an athlete doesn’t work to become a better athlete, he will only be an inferior one. By the same token, we must always be aware of how we act, to what we lend our support, what we allow by our silence or inaction.
I don’t know what of the above might provoke discussion. I just felt like rambling.