Two Reasons Not to Roll Your Eyes at Literature

51fzbtog4-l-_sx322_bo1204203200_Over at Matthew Warner’s website, he pondered this quotation from Albert Einstein:

“Somebody who reads only newspapers and at best the books of contemporary authors looks to me like an extremely nearsighted person who scorns eyeglasses. He is completely dependent on the prejudices and fashions of his times, since he never gets to see or hear anything else. And what a person thinks on his own without being stimulated by the thoughts and experiences of other people is even in the best case rather paltry and monotonous.

There are only a few enlightened people with a lucid mind and style and with good taste within a century. What has been preserved of their work belongs among the most precious possessions of mankind.

Nothing is more needed than to overcome the modernist’s snobbishness.”

– Albert Einstein


He says one of the most precious possessions of time for him is “For me, Sacred Scripture is one such precious possession. Another is the Catechism of the Catholic Church. Whether you are Catholic or not, it is one of the most impressive documents in human history and is itself a preservation of many of the precious bits of wisdom mankind has managed to pass on — all pieced together in harmony.”

I completely agree, and I would like to add the immense value of all the books I used to roll my eyes at in high school:

  1. Books like Les Miserables, The Once and Future King, The Brothers Karamozov, A Tale of Two Cities and A Christmas Carol, even the Secret Garden and A Wrinkle in Time paint so clear a picture of our human faults but then point to the hope, the hope of our salvation and how much better life can be on this earth as we embrace each other and life in the next.

2. Further, books are so accessible. They are easily available for free at libraries and you can read them in the comfort of your own home. And yet somehow, they speak to you, like a true friend sharing his deepest experiences and lessons learned. That is why they wrote those novels, to share the path of knowledge and understanding that they had forged through human trial and error, then finally enlightened by grace.

To really appreciate a book is to know that there was someone out there who pondered the same things you ponder and wrote down her sense of how it all works through the story of people.

The Confessions of St. Augustine is another. There are so many more. To read is not be alone.

So I continue Matthew’s question: what are priceless possessions to you? (Read his original post here) Comment, Tweet or just like. I’d love to hear from you.

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