Polls keep showing that more and more people in today’s world read less and less. Some recent polls estimated that about 25% of United States families did not read a book in the last year. I have even seen some studies put the number as high as 80%.
Many factors contribute to the lowering reading rates. I will list some of the most major ones.
Television – Though television may seem simple in comparison to more elaborate technology, it did not even become commercially available until the 1930s. Nowadays, you can find televisions all over the place. Almost every household in the developed world has one or more. Families eat dinner in front of them instead of at a table. Time put towards television has replaced time put towards sports, family games, study, and of course reading. The addictive television appeals to our laziness, sloth, and short-sightedness. Instead of stimulating our mind with books, we choose to rot our minds in front of a television. Ironically, in the long-term, the reader often feels more fulfilled and happy than the TV addict.
Faster-Paced Lifestyle – Our culture now centers around a constantly faster-paced lifestyle. People work longer hours and then rush through their stressful lives, with credit cards, fast-food, and speeding cars. When we do take a break for fun, we look for the impulsive thrills of drugs, alcohol or TV, rather than calmer, longer-running pleasures like reading.
Misplaced Values – We do not value education and intellectuality much anymore. Instead, we value entertainment and athletics. Perhaps it is because technology and development have eliminated a great deal of our need for intelligence. Perhaps we feel secure that our needs have been met and feel that we no longer need to work as a society towards major goals. As a result, we just want to lay back and gossip about Paris Hilton and cheer for our favorite sports team.
Whatever the reasons, most people in our society have given up on reading for the most part. If you don’t already, I encourage you to consider reading more. Also, consider slowing your life down, giving up television, and reassessing your values. Consider giving up unhealthy and short-term pleasures like television for long-term pleasures like reading. In 5 years, will you wish you watched more television, or will you wish you read more?
Whatever you do, good luck and have fun!