Let a man quote Shakespeare and he is seen as an eccentric whose company is best avoided for fear of the mania being contagious. A girl is known to find comfort or amusement in the brilliant wit of Shaw or the clumsy confessions of an Algerian saint and an onslaught of ridicule for what is seen as female compensation for the meaningless gloom and misery in her life as a woman is used as fevered attempts to explain her idiosyncrasies- “Because my dear chap”, said a famous nihilist in Turgenev’s world “as far as I can see only scarecrows go in for free thoughts among women.” A youth who is found so enamored of literature that he makes its writers small gods in his temple is singled out as a fumbling, immature snob. Yet a person who has lost themselves in this same love for the cheap glitz of television, gossip, and spectacle is seen as a petty nuisance for whose company small sacrifices are made tolerable if only to have their friendship and comfort. Why such antagonism towards those whose objects of love are books then? Why such avoidance of them as though they were lepers and misfits? Why the curiosity of them as strange species from odd lands, or that clear disgust when we find them resorting to a page written ages ago by a wonderful thinker who said what is weighing on their heart so clumsily now so beautifully and far more precise? Its said that during the French Revolution a certain Marquis de Condorcet was singled out as an ‘hors de loi’ or outlaw on account of his wealth and after fleeing, beat and bleeding he stops at an inn where a group of yokels search him and kill him after finding a copy of Horace in his pocket. In their eyes he was a filthy elitist of gentle breeding, curse the enemy of the revolutionary state! We are seen as posers- if one quotes Sartre: “In vain would I seek within me the prickly memories and sweet unreason of a country childhood. I never tilled the soil or hunted for nests. I did not gather herbs or throw stones at birds. But books were my birds and my nests, my household pets, my barn and my countryside”- The Words (autobiography) ….we frown at the pompous, inexperienced highbrow. Or if one imagines a Bradburyian nightmare where books burn in the twilight like a sick carnival and quotes that ghastly Beatty: “I’ve read a few books in my time, to know what I was about, and the books say NOTHING! Nothing you can teach or believe. They are about figments…imagination, if they’re fiction. And if they’re non-fiction its worse- one professor calling another an idiot, one philosopher screaming down another’s gullet. All of them running about, putting out the stars and extinguishing the sun” But then pointing to Faber in redemption: “So", says Faber, "do our books serve to remind Ceasar of mortality. The things you are looking for are in the world but the only way the average chap will ever see 99% of them is in a book. Don't look to be saved in any one thing, person, machine, or library (gendanken: amen). Do your own bit of saving, and if you drown in it at least die knowing you were headed to shore." …lips curl in disgust and the act is seen as haughty necrophilia. Why? All life shares the same fundamental characteristics- consume, produce and reproduce and in the mammal world the lemur shares as much with an Einstein, yet truly I say the mark of distinction, the very stamp that makes our Einstein and his human brethren wonderfully different from all life is this extraordinary simplicity he has of looking down at dead symbols and weaving them together into a meaning he calls ‘reading’. In it he opens worlds and changes them, no? The impossible is made possible and the walking on the moon or a stroll through an Hesperide garden for an apple of pure gold become as real as the paper its written on. I begin to see the mind as a functioning along an endless continuum of strange psychological dynamism of negetive and positive in ecstactic union, oil and water in bondage, lamb and lion cohabiting- a magical absurdity whose mark of genius is a kaleidoscope of image and fantasy. Mingling among them is both a heathy scepticism and naïve credulity with most fierce above all a pure love- need- to simply know something and use it. Why then the aversion towards such people? Or the dislike and disinterest in this wonderful potential in each of us? Its almost like a man detesting his hands so much that he binds them and letting them atrophy dies without having made or held a thing in his life.