Sunday, October 22, 2006

Literature: Opium for the psuedo-intellectual mind

All right, I despise this term "pseudo-intellectual" because it's often applied freely by those of low intellect who want to escape the responsibility of thinking by labeling the thinkers with all sorts of titles, but... I am going to use it.

What's up with this Liberty Books storing the kind of literature that is fodder for the pseudo-intellectual brain? I respect knowledge, but I no longer respect a kind of coffee-table, cafe-something knowledge that leads to endless chatters peppered with irrelevant literary references.

It was interesting for a little while when I was in the teens - to feel empowered by quoting the obscure and far-fetched. But it's no longer fun. No just because I am a practical adult, but because that's just not relevant to our world anymore. Who wants to know what you've read? Honestly, even the paindoos are laughing inside - nay, on the face. What we'd want to know is, do you have access to literature that has made you a better person, and made you able to talk to me, not at me?

Besides, I do have a personal preference for practical and experiential things. If only for fun.

I don't the best books that I am looking for in the top bookstores. The latest activity is often in the section of the latest hot-cake fiction. The non-fiction, I have realized, is primarily being written by the clueless who have gained authority by way of their access to sophisticated sounding, irrelevant knowledge. All right, this part of my rant is generalizing, but I won't steer back on course without reminding that "relevance" - to one's people, times, culture, and life - is one of the most critical characteristic of anything that enriches us or becomes part of our life. Be that a spouse, a product, or a book.

So. Let's steer back from the general world of publishing to non-discerning readers to BOOKS. More specifically, non-fiction literature available in Pakistan.

I want to see and read more practical, relevant literature that adds meaningful value to my life, enabling me to pass the same on to those around me. I don't care about the Russian slang of Clockwork Orange, about which Jugnoo the AAG TV VJ was recently enlightening the audience. Honestly!

In bookstores, there are terribly beautiful novels about "a profound sense of loss," and "shock and denial," and endless books about what turned Muslims intro terrorists and how America should fight back or get out and what Bush's got to do with it - but very books that truly enrich lives and lead one to meaningful action. Speaking more practically, most books I see are of the type that are just a better alternative to staring at the idiot box. What most of the selected literature in the bookstores does is to borrow our minds for a while, give them a tour of fantasy land or dip them in a quagmire of terrible thoughts, and return them to their place.

Yes, I know not all literature is like this. But speaking from the results end, it's hard to find many people whose lives have changed for the positive better (not the cynically educated) by reading the kind of literature we have access to.

More practically, I have not found some of the most profound books I have been looking for on the bookshelves of Liberty Books (and nowhere in their e-store) which makes this rant slightly personal, but still insightful on what I think is truly the state of literary taste...

1 comment:

  1. Ramla, I agree with you, on this junk information (ultimately knowledge) passed onto our youth. On their part, I feel it's just about how cool you sound by reproducing the nonsense. Your thoughts are more elaborating so I think I don't need to say more.