I vowed not to purchase any books during 2010, and thus far it’s proved to be liberating.
I don’t only mean this in terms of the re-discovered time freed from leisurely browsing (on- and off-line) and unspent dollars of course, but more significantly in terms of the erection of boundaries and its surprising effects.
We are forced to engage with limits – of resources, of our own finitude – and embrace the truthfulness of the present and contingent; what lies before us is no longer the infinity of projected wisdom and undiscovered islands. This self-constrained working within bounds – simultaneously a departure from the imagined future – is a rejection of deferred “presents” and is a condition for sanity.
The glut of publishing and the decay of reading are entwined; the former chokes and strangles the other, while diminished readers fuel infantile information.