I recognized that I had spent much time on reading trashy books when I lived in the United States, which tells me that it is really difficult to enjoy a good time in reading.
Looking back to my habit of reading, I had bought many books and sold them out after reading them, and bought books again and sold them again. It was just only an exercise of reading characters.
Many of my books, which are related to politics and economics, just allowed me to accumulate the knowledge of such topics but I don't think made me find out something new and great.
School and "Power of Human Being"
Recently it has been popular among the people in Japan to say that school is not useful to live a social life. In addition, they like adding the term "power" to some idioms, say, "power of explanation", "power of asking questions", "power of interpersonal skill" and "power of human being".
Adding the term "power" seems to be practical in our social life and to have a meaning of "force" or "influence" used for controlling and driving something and in my sight that's why many people like adding "power" to words.
To such public opinion, my habit of reading seems like clinging to my desk and not a solution to problems and thus a waste of money and time.
Good reading and Good books
However, at the same time, I might have learnt something important from such waste of money and time.
I had no money and couldn't spend much money on foods and clothing during my stay in the US, which made me find it important for me to spend much time on thinking of the present and myself and to doubt my point of view.
Good reading should be revising and doubting my point of view, rather than getting much knowledge in our modern life that spreads much information and knowledge among people.
I can say that in our modern information society the relative value of getting much knowledge has been decreasing, whereas that of considering how to read and understand it has been increasing.
It's not important to read many books. What and how to read and what to get from books is much more important. How books influenced our life and way of thinking should be talked to people.
In the same way, we always need good books if we want to have a good experience of reading.
Good books, I guess, are not written in pure and beautiful words. They should tell that a hopeful future is coming soon to us if we feel nervous about our present. They should tell that our life is so strange, surprising and interesting.
Good books shouldn't tell the answer to your question, but just a good hint to it. The hint should be a seed to change our viewpoint of world and maybe will influence us.
I feel that too many books actually copy old ideas and just pretend to give us new ones. When I feel so, I get afraid that it is as difficult for us to meet a good book as to meet a good partner in our life.
Burning books and Yearning for Power
It might be fate that school and book have been blamed for not practice.
It seems to me that many people have said that school is not useful in their life. It looks like successful business people and consultants teach at school and insist that their classes are very practical. Also, they look like they drive professors out of school who look as if they taught useless knowledge.
It's really ridiculous to say at school that school is not useful.
On the other hand, there are some students who are complaining that school doesn't teach useful things in a social life. If we could increase our income just by reading many books and writing reports, I would try to read and write as many books and reports as possible! It's also a ridiculous complaint.
However, I guess that it's a kind of proof that many people get nervous about their future and are frightened of their everyday life. It's because many people seem to expect that "power" can cope with people's such fear and threat in their life behind the popularity of adding "power" to many words.
This time I would like to keep in mind that "power"can be sometimes changed into kind of violence, whereas it is useful to control things for use. Violence is very easy to understand, but in contrast it is very hard and boring for us to read and think although it seems more important to me in our modern life.
Toward a Young and Fresh Mind
In our modern life, school and mind should give us a doubt on our way of view and an opportunity to revise it. Moreover, it should be a mirror of an image of our modern life.
I think that now is the time when we need something called "a young and fresh mind", which tries to doubt and revise our present view if necessary. Reading should be an act of seeking for such a young mind.
This column is the English version of it.