I think it’s good to pay attention to the kinds of things we like to hear or read. For example (as if I didn
’t intend to bring this up), I’m drawn to anthologies of almost any kind: essays, short stories, travel writing, spiritual writing, some poetry (volumes like, “Best Poems Ever in the History of Mankind” so I don’t have to sift through the soil), scientific treatises (a volume of string theorists), etcetera
. The older I get, the more impatient I am with one-author volumes. There are exceptions and necessities, but for the most part, I’m uninterested in reading 400 pages from one person, one mind, one angst, or one imagination. The rule has legs. So I have often counseled folks who come within five minutes of me to never take, for example, your religion from one living person; never take your understanding of the Quran
from one commentator or translator (alive or otherwise); and never have your reading experience dominated by one author over a significant period of time. Essentially, never unwittingly make vague or pointed loyalty your spiritual or intellectual limitation. You will regret it. Whenever you have serious conversations with others, it will not be about content, but an invisible defense of a narrow band of learning you’ve
accepted as some “whole.” And just about everything you read or hear will be filtered or tweaked to match your prefabricated thoughts.
I’m especially talking about the post-college, or post-graduate life, when our critical thinking skills and other tools and parts of our acumen are pretty much established. The world is big. If something like a leaf has nuance, then imagine what words, ideas, perspectives, and their heirs have in terms of shade, gradation, and distinction. It’s hard to accept that God would create uncountable shades of green but would limit our minds (far more complex than color) to a small sample of perspectives.