New Year’s resolutions for 2014

I should preface this by declaring, as I did last year and as I do every year, that I loathe and despise NY resolutions. They’re silly superstitious nonsense at best. At worst, when they fail (as they inevitably do) they do so at the worst time of year: some point between the third week of January and the end of February. Worst time as coinciding with late-winter down and glumness. High point of the year for depression and suicide.

But here’s one that might be feasible, tenable, useful, and constructive or productive. It’s spot-on for improving on 2013 in the online world. It might make virtual 2014 better than its predecessor. It looks pretty much guaranteed to make people’s lifestyles and lives better.

From the New York Times today: “Tweet Less, Read More”

From Granny (RIP, back in the 1990s): “empty barrels make the most noise.”

I’m off to do some more reading now. Resolution for next year: read more, post less, and have more of my posts being links to things to read elsewhere. First up: the link above. Next ones: get thee to Project Gutenberg and your local public library. We also have urgent issues of “use it or lose it” on the latter. For both, I’m sure there is no-one reading this post, or online right now, or alive anywhere today, who has read everything that has been written in the past that’s worth reading. Great writing that’s out of copyright and free.

All those horrors that unfortunate souls are forced to read at school and university.

A.k.a. some of the greatest writing ever; expressing some of the greatest ideas, feelings, impressions, observations; and sharing moments of wonder.

Sure, some of that fusty old stuff is nonsense, and some horrors are horrors; and some are horrors from horrid past times; and some are not worth reading, by the standards of their own time or of ours.

But most are not: they only seem like horrors to a reader with an attention span so limited as to be disabling. With stunted imagination. Weak creativity. Inability to follow someone else’s train of thought, at their pace, be it faster or slower than their own. Lack of patience and empathy. Blindness and deafness to others. Zero tolerance. No intelligent thought. No thinking. No work. Lazy and intellectually lazy; creative lacks coupled with a lack of curiosity.

Reading that’s deemed horrid because it’s hard.

A condemnation that says everything about the reader, and nothing about the writing. Fortunately, all these ills can be remedied. There is hope for everyone. Anyone can change. There are no limits to the human potential for self-improvement. (OK, except oneself, that’s the only limitation…)

Through reading.

Here’s to 2014: to reading, to making oneself better, to making the world a better place, to making a better world through the Republic of Letters.

See also:

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