“These are not books, lumps of lifeless paper, but minds alive on the shelves.”
– Gilbert Highet, Teacher and Scholar
There is something called Nitrogen Narcosis which occurs in persons who have dived into deep sea when inert gases dissolve in the lipid bilayer of the cell membranes. Increased pressure increases solubility of gases in the body tissue. This effect is generally not noticeable with depths less than 30m, beyond which there is an increment in the seriousness of the symptoms. Symptoms may include delusion and severe confusion, with some divers not being able to realize which way is up to the air. Beyond 40m, the diver experiences dizziness, and more importantly, hysteria, laughter and controlled euphoria. They may also be driven to feel over-confident and feel that they are safe and sound. This may eventually be followed by terror, and beyond 100m, even death.
This phenomenon is also called “rapture of the deep.”
It is unfair to expect anyone to live in bleak reality, and even increased pressure can free us from feeling small, and insignificantly unsafe. And how are books any different? If you do read, how many times has it been disappointing that the world is running just as it was before you faced emotional trauma at the hands of merely a few hundred pages bound together? And so it is, that a reader will live experience limitless joy, fall in love several times in a lifetime, and face unrequited love just as many times. They also die several times. And if you are not a reader, well, you may have lived an exquisite life anyway, but the issue is, you will never know for sure.
Thankfully, I grew up knowing that books can replace meaningful relationships in life, and I still believe it to this day. Reading is an escape, and a very suitable escape at that. It is temporary, and volatile, and makes you yearn for more. The difficulty in life is always boredom and stagnancy. For anyone to have a happy, prosperous life, it is necessary that they find means to want to wake up in the morning and live another day. Pray, ask yourself this question every night. If you do not wake up tomorrow morning, does that fill you with gloom, indifference, or the worst of all… Bliss?
Reading, thankfully, is part of the answer, if not the entire solution. Find a book that you think will diverge reality, something that you know you will find rapture in, and dive in. Do not waste time in reading books you should be reading. I tried reading books that sound intelligent and that will help me explore knowledge in a more technical sense, and some were a success, and some were horrid failures. In my reading experience, I have realized one thing. There is no joy in reading what you do not want to read. Do not force yourself to read. Pick up a children’s book, if nothing else suits you. Even graphic novels and poetry still tell a story. To convince you, below is one my favourite web comics.
So go on, go read something. Anything at all. You’ll be surprised with what you may find in yourself. It may even be something you like.
- Nitrogen Narcosis (sepridgen.wordpress.com)