Thursday, January 10, 2013

The words of my book nothing, the drift of it everything. - Walt Whitman

New research continues to emphasize the importance of mind wandering for learning. It turns out that not paying attention is one of the best ways of discovering new ideas. Reading books, whether silently or aloud, remains one of the most efficient means of enabling such errant thinking. As our bodies rest, our minds begin to work in a different way. New connections, new pathways, and sharp turns are being made as we meander our way through the book, but also away from it. There is no way to tell if anyone is actually paying attention anymore as I read, including myself. This seems to be one of the great benefits of reading aloud, that you can think of something else while you do it. We may be holding the book together, but our minds are no doubt far apart by now. The fairy tale is the first story of childhood because it tells of such leaving behind (parents and home), of entering the dreamscape of the woods - and the mind. It tells of the crooked path of change. How can one know where reading books ends and dreaming in books begins? - Andrew Piper

1 comment:

  1. I love the quote. I take drift, though, somewhat less in the J.J.Rousseauian sense, "couché dans mon bateau que je laissais dériver au gré de l'eau`...(cinquième promenade), than the way we say `Do you get my drift?" Whitman, in "Shut not your Doors" seems to me to be alluding to the very act, the very transcendence, of indication. Do not mistake the finger for the moon. The words are a fallout in the wake of the movement of Whitman's thought. "Tokens" as he curiously calls them sometimes.Not "intellectually" linked to the other volumes in the proud library, yet apt to thrill "ye untold latencies." True, this poem/moment drifts away (in 1865, the year the Civil War ended) from what preceded it, but its "drift" is strong, new, and nothing vague.