Kentlist, herb, health, immunity, digetion

How does Reading Shape The Mind?

As far as we, human beings are concerned, reading our precious books are one of the most valued and effective ways for us to reach that utopian sense of our reality. Reading the right material can open up and expose us to a realm or hidden dimensions of the world that we were oblivious to its existence. Reading can in fact lead to freedom. Reading provides freedom from ignorance, unawareness and offers a direct path to wisdom, righteousness and the almighty truth. Freedom to be able to live in a world of clarity, to instantly indicate good, bad, right and wrong with very little effort, to understand why the world is the way it is and what we can do to improve it, to be able to mentally lend a helping hand to my fellow neighbors, in dire need of assistance. I am extremely privileged and thankful to have been recently introduced to the brilliant writings of Henry David Thoreau, Ralph Waldo Emerson and Frederick Douglass. It seemed as if for every word I read, my vision would somehow break free from obstruction. I can see, hear, smell and taste variables that would have otherwise previously been ignored. In many ways I also feel infuriated. I am 31 years old and just now acquainted myself with the luminous philosophies of these three magnificent beings. After only one week of being fed the nourishment of truth, I only crave and desire for it now. The truth hit my unsuspecting soul like a huge cargo train traveling two hundred miles per hour. I must now live by this. I must become a vessel in transportation of this sacred entity that is truth. No longer will I bask in the rivers and lakes of ignorance. Never again will I purposely shower myself in the pools of ignorant individuals and behaviors. My reading has allowed me to evolve. After spending only four days with three phenomenal scholars, my world has been impacted drastically. The prison bars of ignorance that I volunteered myself for enslavement, no longer exists within my mind. My recent search for truth and knowledge crushed the interior of that minuscule confinement.

Now that I’ve received a delicate nibble from the buffet of genuineness, I have become filled with inspiration. I am now destined to absorb as much wisdom and knowledge as possible. This new feeling of hope that has come over me is indescribable. My next step is to figure out where Thoreau, Emerson and Douglass got their inspiration from. Who and what motivated these heroic geniuses? It is evident that all three of these very distinguished men had comparable thinking processes. I was able to identify that they all believed that each individual should strive for their full potential and literature is the primary escape from the darkness. “When a person fails to read, their pool of knowledge to extract from is very limited” (Dr. Hauck). Without that much needed additional information in life, one usually condemns themselves to a life of stagnation. Emerson, Thoreau and Douglass’s uniqueness, diversity and most importantly, their similarities are utterly compelling. Henry Thoreau reached out from the pages and demanded my attention when he revealed to me that books are undeniably one of mankind’s most precious gifts. Books are the key that unlocks the brain. With the help of the right reading material, we can assure ourselves endless success. Thoreau loved to read to the point if romanticizing about being one with knowledge and not having enough time to in a day to absorb its wisdom. I got chills all over when Emerson explained to me that every generation should write their own books. Also that we should focus on ancient writers that came long before us. Ancient writers will give us insight on past events and occurrences that took place involving our ancestors and countrymen. Ancient material allow us to explore the state of mind and events that took place in our history, and how it affects us today. How can one truly know which way to go, if one doesn’t have the slightest idea of where they came from? This knowledge is so surreal to me because my community is severely plagued by this sense of unawareness. How can we as a people move forward when most of us are completely oblivious of our past? How is it possible that this man wrote this book in the mid 1800’s, but yet is still speaking directly to me and my generation? I find this fascinating. It must be fact what they say about truth, that it is immortal and will definitely withstand the test of time. These three scholars prided themselves on receiving an endless barrage of immanent knowledge, wisdom and truth.

Emerson taught me to do the proper research before diving head first into a book. He makes it clear that all books are not food for the mind. Some can very well be poison for the mind. He explains that we should all beware of conflicting writers.” No man is perfect, but some aim to publish hazardous literature”(Emerson 57). Possibly to hide the truth from the public for their own selfish, insatiable, personal gain. Emerson and Thoreau both agreed that ancient writings had a profound impact in their lives. Emerson felt we should explore different ways of learning. He believed we should open our minds to art, learning institutions but most importantly books. He also goes on to say, “that the original scholar viewed the world and was able to express himself and free his mind with truth” (56). “Within a short life, the truth in their literature made his thoughts immortal” (56). What he felt at that very moment and time will be transported to touch and impact future societies and generations. Emerson stated that “man’s active soul is the number one human value” (57). Every man deserves to be acquainted with the truth. “The soul only sees truth (57).”It is necessary to read, attend college in pursuit of constant progression” (57). I am mesmerized by these words. “Geniuses always look forward not backward. Man hopes for results, geniuses create results by constantly thinking and acting on those thoughts.” (59) Reading promotes continuous improvements and evolution within human beings. “Books are for scholar’s idle time, to bring great pleasure and knowledge” (58). The amazement of relating with a poet from centuries ago is remarkable. Marvelous writers leaving behind wondrous words of wisdom for a generation that they will never lay eyes on. Lastly, “Emerson informed me that, great people have lived to write the truth” (56). Other people have become great only after reading some of this same great knowledge. He says,” it is our duty to educate ourselves and understand our authors” (59). Let’s make an effort to view the world from their eyes. Afterwards stand in amazement of our new vision. We must completely immerse ourselves in the labors of receiving knowledge. Someday, if we are fortunate enough to pass along knowledge to future readers, we must only express the unadulterated, imperative truth. In my opinion, this man’s words are so extremely deep that I can hardly contain myself. I feel like shouting to the heavens, “It is I Harold Woodard, I am alive and now, I can also see. It is I, Harold Woodard, yes, I am indeed alive and now my vision is clearer than ever”.

As a young child, in the Oakland public school district I heard the name Frederick Douglass on several occasions, but was never required to read any of his literature. So I never did. I know he was a slave that somehow became free, and was very intelligent. Due to my own ignorance and self hate, I always viewed him as a uncle Tom black, and the only reason he made it to the history books, must be because he kissed the white man’s ass all the way to the top. My ignorance and unconscious hatred for myself and my fellow African American people would not allow me to see the brilliants behind the feat that this man accomplished. I am exceedingly thankful for today is a new day and for my new set of eyes. Frederick Douglass like the other two gentlemen I discussed, was definitely an accomplished individual. What makes Douglass different from the two is that Frederick Douglass was born a slave. His environment didn’t openly promote education or ambitions to accomplish. He was born into this world to simply be the property of another man. His existence was suppose to consist of remaining a servant, a tool, a person not even recognized as being a human. “When Douglass was a young boy, his owner’s wife was a kind, sweet woman. She would teach him the alphabet and words until the harsh reality of slavery commenced to rot her soul” (Douglass 6,1). “One day master caught her teaching young Douglass a lesson and Master was furious. He explained to his wife that teaching a slave how to read and write will completely ruin a slave” (6,1). The whole system of slavery thrived on maintaining the ignorance of the slaves. At that very moment, Master unknowingly revealed a vital secret about slavery. A large percentage of why slavery lasted so long in the United States is credited solely to the fact that owners were violently against the educating of slaves. Even though Master’s wife discontinued educating young Frederick, the seed of knowledge was firmly embedded deep within him. From that very moment, he did everything in his power to nurture that wonderful, blessed seed of knowledge. “He would even go to the lengths of giving food to the poor white children in exchange for books or any bit of knowledge he could receive”(7,2). He eventually got his hands on a book that he so desperately needed. This book would change the course of his life from that day forward. The book is called the Columbia Orator. This book was tremendously relevant in Douglass acquiring his freedom from the deadly, crippling, grips of slavery. The Columbia Orator taught him about voluntary emancipation and the Catholic emancipation. These are methods of becoming free. Voluntary emancipation consisted of a dialogue between slave and owner. The slave has to plead their case of why he or she should be free. The owner has to explain why this person should remain enslaved. Somewhat similar to today’s court of law. The slave must be very well spoken, intelligent and extraordinary in order to get the voluntary emancipation from his master (7,2). This new found light of knowledge within his unfortunate life gave him the hope and will to continue on. The truth inside the book provided a purpose and implanted motivation into his otherwise miserable existence. “Douglass also eagerly learned how to write” (7,3). His learning how to write was the final piece to a long, rigorous, heart acing puzzle. Master’s wife planted the seed of knowledge; the Columbia Orator was the soil, water and sunshine that flourished that single seed into a huge forest full of trees. And finally, Douglass learning how to write was as if every last one of those trees produced large, beautiful, ripe pieces of fruitful truth for present and future generations to enjoy. What Douglass did was nothing short of phenomenal. This man defied all odds and made something very special out of his life. If not for the knowledge and truth within those books that fueled his journey, his great accomplishment could not have been possible.

Thoreau and Emerson were celebrated abolitionist, among there many attributes, this was amid their most admired associations. Douglass, Thoreau and Emerson all prided themselves on humility. Their number one concern was, for the advancement and wellbeing of all people no matter what color, age, gender or religion. These three men are the epitome of how human being should conduct themselves. I am forever indebted to these men and vastly honored by their tireless efforts and accomplishments. They made it possible for people like myself to have the choice to receive an eminent education, read any book of choice and aspire to be anything in the world, including president of the United States. I realized from this literature that truth is not a myth. It is very much alive and well. It is the basis of all things pure and grand. The greatest feelings in the world are truth and love. Be sure to love yourself, your neighbor and every chance you get, bask in the mighty rays of truth. It will undeniably set you free.

Knowledge is extremely addictive. I have a lifetime worth of questions, and so little answers. Can I, will I, be able to absorb all of the wisdom and knowledge that I desire? I pray, in due time all my questions will be answered. Someday I pray to be in a position to answer other peoples tough questions about life. Where, today can I find a copy of the Columbia Orator? The Columbia orator changed Frederick Douglass’s life greatly. I am extremely anxious to see how this book will impact and change my life. I also found myself intrigued by how the poetic writings of “Homer’s Iliad inspired Thoreau” (Thoreau 71). I want to feel and understand the logic and passion behind this brilliant literature. This is the reason why books are one of the greatest gifts that humanity has to offer. Even a person like myself, who was born into poverty, with very low self-esteem and low expectations to succeed, can become a licensed professional with the help of books. I recommend that we all pledge to devote a portion on our life, to becoming familiar with many of these excellent authors. It is extremely essential to our growth and prosperity that we become acquainted with a variety of magnificent writings, writers, philosophers, poets, scholars and geniuses. There is no limit to one’s success. Any and everything we desire in life is attainable, all the instructions are laid out for us, right here in hands reach. All we have to do is crack open the right books. Knowledge, freedom, wisdom and truth will irrefutable come pouring out.