By SIMON DAVIDSON – PNG Attitude 05 May 2021
SONOMA – Reading eclectically is to read books from diverse sources of knowledge – reading a bit of something from everything.
An eclectic reader reads some philosophy, some law, some accounting, and takes a dive into politics, economics, religion, poetry, computer science, political theory, rocket propulsion…. Yes, rocket propulsion.
The literary taste of an eclectic reader is varied and wide. In essence, it means reading something about everything, so you know something about everything.
Eclectic reading expands breadth of learning, stretches mental horizons and proffers a broad spectrum of knowledge.
In my view, it enables the reader to be a literate and global citizen.
History has had many eclectic readers: known as polymaths or sages because of their literary interests, their curiosity and wisdom across diverse fields.
They are generalists who search widely for ideas in many fields. Through wide research they discover many ideas and cross-fertilise them to generate new insights and create new knowledge.
In the past, some of the world’s famous thinkers were eclectics: Galilei Galileo, Thomas Edison, Albert Einstein, Sir Isaac Newton and CS Lewis. Smart men who could to see further than others.
I recall that walk along a steep valley and then up the ridge at its end. A long uphill and torturous climb in the Papua New Guinea way. I trudged upwards for what seemed like an eternity, finally making it to what was a mountain peak.
I stood there, sucking in the fresh air and looking across the valley and the lowlands with view splendid and expansive. I could see further than I had ever before.
In like manner, eclectic readers, those who know how to read widely, see further than others.
Reading gives wings to our mind, flight to our imagination and enables us to soar into a literary universe.
This is knowledge broad and expansive. It is a literary journey exciting and satiating.
Martin Luther, the great reformer, was said to fill his mind with the weighty thoughts of the geniuses who went before him. Ideas ingested become nutrients for the brain.
And eclectic readers are able to get the best ideas from the best books of the best minds and fill their minds with the gold of the finest ideas.
They never run out of ideas. They are never bored. Their minds are like geysers emitting a torrent of ideas.
I believe we should all read eclectically. Read beyond our own field of learning.
If you are a teacher, read outside your area. If you are an accountant or lawyer, read what is unfamiliar and new.
The time spent is an investment in self-development. Buy books, download books and read books undreamed of.
As you make this effort to read in new areas, your mental horizon will expand and the amount of new knowledge you gain will delight you.
So read eclectically, excite your mind with new ideas, become an ideas factory and, who knows, you might end up being the finest thinker and writer in the world.