To Read Aloud is a portal straight to that Middle Earth where magic happens


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One of my favorite stories is the Hindu myth of the churning of the Milky Ocean, where the gods and demons team up to extract the nectar of immortality, using Mount Meru as a churning-rod and the serpent Vasuki as the rope. The first thing to emerge from their effort is the deadly poison Halahala, which immediately begins suffocating everyone until Shiva is appealed to and swallows the toxic cloud.

The lesson is: any process of great change will initially produce toxic outcomes; if we persevere, however, we can clear away these fumes and proceed to extracting a great good.

From the foment produced by the Internet, many ills have emerged in this first generation. Over time, however, we may hope that we’ll learn to clear these away and use the Internet constructively.

In this regard I’ve been slowly moving away from the Internet and back to print. I’ve given up Reddit and Twitter (now to only quit that pesky BoingBoing); I’ve subscribed to the Economist again and read the FT on weekends. Instead of reading my phone at night I am reading paperbacks (currently ‘Ben-Hur’). The initial wildness of the Internet is fading and we are going back to healthier patterns.


To any reading list, I’d add the unexpurgated Arabian Nights. A few years ago, I read it daily to a friend who was recovering from surgery & needed distraction during painful physical therapy. Brought us closer in an amazing way.


As a philosophy professor trained in the classics, you had me right up until Aleister Crowley.


To Read Aloud is a portal straight to that Middle Earth where magic happens

[credit: Perry Bible Fellowship]


So in order to get us to read more deeply, and reject the internet mode of thinking, he turned a series of beloved books into a print-edition tumblr? I guess meet people where they’re at…


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