It’s been awhile since I slept with a book, but last night I resorted to laying with my newest love, Sacred Economics by Charles Eisenstein, languidly, tentatively (it was our first night together), simply and oh so optimistically. So far, in the waking world I have only managed to skim the introduction and honestly I may never actually read the whole book but I know it is a great teacher and I have my own very special way of dealing with those…
I call it Bibliosmosis.
Dictionary Dot Com defines Osmosis like this:
- Physical Chemistry, Cell Biology . a. the tendency of a fluid, usually water, to pass through a semipermeable membrane into a solution where the solvent concentration is higher, thus equalizing the concentrations of materials on either side of the membrane. b. the diffusion of fluids through membranes or porous partitions.
- A subtle or gradual absorption or mingling: He never studies but seems to learn by osmosis.
I was quite amazed and felt validated to see number two. Am I not the only person who has desperately slept with holy texts when in despair, or with volumes of poetry when feeling uninspired, or with Physics textbooks I would never even crack when seeking insight into the innermost workings of things?
Surely this is pure insanity and shame, a clear case of intellectual laziness and wishful thinking. I mean, studying is the only way to knowledge right? One must read something in a peer reviewed journal (not just on the internet or from the weirdo in the coffee shop) in order for it to be considered valid, real and appropriate for sharing as real acquired knowledge.
That is why I was more likely to listen to Charles Eisenstein who graduated from Yale than to coffee-shop dude who just found a cool book in a free pile. That is why we try to mimic “school” even when we homeschool our children because we are so afraid that being alive and experiencing reality and expressing our mind’s natural curiosity just isn’t enough. No, we need them to go through the crucible of education in order to earn the honor of being heard.
We tear our children apart so that they can be magically restored by a good education.
In my first round at grad school I learned a technique of gutting a book without actually reading it. First you read the Introduction, then the chapter headings, first and last paragraph of each chapter and finally the complete last chapter. Most cogent writing is full of recapitulation and the thesis is quite transparently stated in the introduction and the conclusion and implications are summarized in the last chapter.
The truth is I usually didn’t (don’t) even do that much. I really truly have written entire essays by reading only the parts of a text I am actually inspired to read. And to be fair, I do sometimes really pore over a complete text with care and presence and a fine toothed inquiry…. but not all that often.
So there is it. I am a fraud (and an imposter).
Or am I?
Who says knowledge has to be learned from the outside in?
According to Carl Jung (a bonafide pseudoscientist) there are people who tend to gather information intuitively from the inside out rather than empirically from sensation or reason. Dictionary Dot Com defines intuition as: direct perception of truth, fact, etc., independent of any reasoning process; immediate apprehension.
Great! I am honored to be the most unpopular marginalized kind of thinker around. You see I don’t really get my ideas from outside myself. They percolate up from within and while they are often tipped off by something external, they come in the spaces between, in the integration of sleep, in the subtext, in what isn’t said, in the murky dream world.
Reading was never my thing.
Even as a child, and youth (though I cringe even now to admit it – what will you think of me?), I was more likely to re-read sections of a book over and over and marvel than to read entire books cover to cover. In the end, I am not very well read. I cannot make reference to vast quantities of literary and intellectual capital…
but I can refer to a few well loved verses that can move you, rock your socks off and make you weep.
There is recent research showing that creative people have higher levels of cognitive disinhibition,
“We think that the reduction in cognitive inhibition allows more material into conscious awareness that can then be reprocessed and recombined in novel and original ways, resulting in creative ideas.” ~Shelley Carson, The Unleashed Mind
This is why Creatives are slower thinkers than many, but if you give them time they often come up with the outrageous and beautiful and new. They need less material to fuel their process and they don’t consume literature and culture, but rather use it as a medium in their art.
Maybe this is why I need to read one line and stop, hold it dear and enter the dream world with my book teachers. Maybe it’s time to come out of the closet and start honoring the creative process for real.
“As the market value of creative thinking increases, the round-hole world may continue to make adjustments to accommodate and assimilate eccentrics. Such accommodations already exist in communities with high concentrations of artists, writers, scientists and computer geeks.” ~ Shelley Carson
I am lucky (actually I searched for 10 years for the right match in a place to call home) to live in Portland, Oregon, a place where whacky ideas are embraced and eccentrics abound. Whether this will continue, I don’t know, but it has been a pretty welcoming place for me over the last 10 years and I have been able to carry out many creative projects here. Nevertheless it hasn’t been without its complications and difficulties, and I look forward to a day when rationalist reductionist thinking is no longer the dominant paradigm and creativity is rewarded as highly as it ought to be.
“It is high time. Indeed, we all owe a deep debt of gratitude to those whose creative work has been accomplished at the expense of square-peg feelings of alienation and ostracism. The creative efforts of eccentrics add richness, beauty and innovation to the lives of those of us who have fit somewhat more comfortably into our round holes.” ~ Shelley Carson
Sacred Economics was given to us by a couple Farm-Stay guests at Tierra Soul just last week. Talking with them was nothing short of inspiring. Warm generous people in word and deed. As soon as I saw the cover I knew it was one of those special books, the kind that earn a place on your I-would-take-this-to-a-desert-island bookshelf.
Most of the books on that particular shelf remain unread, at least by me. Authors like Mary Oliver, Neruda, Jack Forbes and Bonafil Batalla, Rilke and Gonzales, and while I may never read them in their entirety . . .
I have slept with them all . . .
*right now some, or all, of the links in this post are not functioning because the articles just haven’t been written yet. As I write new topics come up that really deserve their own post, so I have marked them and will write them and link them here soon. Just check back or sign-up to receive my rants below!