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AlbertJayNock

Albert Jay Nock on reading

Albert Jay Nock, in Memoirs Of A Superfluous Man, had the following to say about the state of modern literacy:

I do not mean that the great majority are unable to read intelligently; I mean that they
are unable to read at all — unable, that is, to carry away from a piece of printed matter
anything like a correct idea of its content. They are more or less adept at passing
printed matter through their minds, after a fashion, especially such matter as is
 addressed to mere sensation, (and knowledge of this fact is nine-tenths of a
 propagandist’s equipment), but this is not reading


This is rather harsh but he may have had a point. A lot of readers consume written material without really absorbing it, although I wouldn't go so far as Nock does to say that these people are unable to read.

Given my own omnivorous reading, I often worry that his words apply to me. Sometimes I feel like I read a lot without properly digesting the content.

On the other hand, if I am this haunted by words I read over two years ago, I probably do more than just pass printed matter through my mind. Or at least I do when the printed matter was written by Albert Jay Nock.

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