When we read, another person thinks for us: we merely repeat his mental process. In learning to write, the pupil goes over with his pen what the teacher has outlined in pencil: so in reading; the greater part of the work of thought is already done for us. This is why it relieves us to take up a book after being occupied with our own thoughts. And in reading, the mind is, in fact, only the playground of another’s thoughts. So it comes about that if anyone spends almost the whole day in reading, and by way of relaxation devotes the intervals to some thoughtless pastime, he gradually loses the capacity for thinking; just as the man who always rides, at last forgets how to walk. This is the case with many learned persons: they have read themselves stupid.
— Schopenhauer, Essays and Aphorisms
To become a thinker. — How can anyone become a thinker if he does not spend at least a third of the day without passions, people and books?
— Nietzsche, Human, All Too Human: A Book for Free Spirits
Well, I typically do my reading in the couple of hours before bed, so I guess I’m keeping it within proper limits. I don’t know that I do any worthwhile thinking, or perhaps I should say woolgathering, during the rest of the day, but then again, I don’t have an inheritance (Schopenhauer) or a small pension (Nietzsche) to keep my time and thoughts free of more prosaic matters.
Nevertheless, it is true that we do well to not allow our thoughts to be captured by the inane ruckus made by peers and events. For my part, when I have a little spare time during the workday, rather than waste it on seeing what everyone on social media is shouting about, I like to browse a site like Redbubble and see what sorts of clever or amusing creations can be found under favorite topics. So, for example, what do you find if you do a search for G.K. Chesterton?
“The CHE you respect.” OK, I admit, I’d wear it.
My favorite Greek philosopher. So human, so relatable.
I may have already ordered a sticker of this one for my laptop.
I find myself captivated by this artwork. It speaks to me. What’s the story behind this? Is there a group I can join?