Why Extensive Readers are Mostly Unhappy?

Rehmat Ullah
Much have been written and said about enormous advantages and massive benefits of reading a lot of books. True are all of them without a particle of doubt that readers are leaders, thinkers, communicators, presenters, writers, and the list goes on.  No any other single activity can generate such positive effects other than reading for mankind in the world. Reading fuels readers’ desires to learn more, dream more, become more, do more and eventually spot more opportunities. With these desires people become extensive readers.
Those fall in class of extensive readers are included rare people who read at least three to four books (or more), of non-fiction or fiction, a month. Here, I talk about English books having real substance beneath them, but not the quick reads like One Minute Manager or Animal Farm which you finish within a couple of two hours or little less or more in single sitting. Again, here, I don’t mean Urdu readers who have very limited scope of rich varieties. And so on readers of other local or regional languages, as neither I know and nor I have read, are not included sharing the victimhoods of extensive reading.  With extensive and intensive reading the insights grow, mind gets awakening and brain intelligence maximizes.
As result of extensive reading when minds get awakened, become intelligent and turn genius, here the journey of confronting with numerous other challenges starts for such brilliant minds to face and encountered with. Extensive readers are no more sleep-minded walkers like non-readers. They are — those few — now free of ignorance, when non-readers — who are majority — enjoy its bliss.
First, the readers fall victims of their excessive analysis of situations, happenings and environment, no matter political, philosophical, social, historical or economic issues. Their over-analyzing of situations never let them to ignore the circumstances and beyond … even their consequences and conclusions. Thereby, they lose their happiness. While the same situations and surroundings, even everything, go unnoticed to non-readers who also happen to be sleep-minded walkers due to which they feel lighthearted and happy.
Second, voracious readers become victims of solitude. Though, solitude is great which allows creative minds to think and grow. In a society where readership crisis prevails then in such environment readers find it very difficult to get like-minded persons to interact with and exchange ideas to their level. They do not feel at ease and peace while communicating with others (non-readers) which create barriers in understanding their voices. Thus, they resort to self-exile in their hometowns. Ultimately, they find solitude in society where they are born and grown up. On the contrary, non-readers easily enjoy socializing at ease in any society.
Third, men of immense reading are men of deep thinking. Being deep thinker, no question attained through massive reading, is a great gift which allows man to explore into very essence of things or everything. But, the readers, being deep thinkers, fall unconsciously victims of setting high standards for their behavior. This is of course not about his success or failure. It is hard judgments about their daily actions against high standards they set for themselves unknowingly due to their high thinking. Thereby, discomforts dominate their thoughts over any action which does not suit their high standards they set for themselves. On the other hand, non-readers find themselves compatible and well-suited with their every action and daily behavior without regret.
Fourth, extensive readers happen to be victims of idealism. It is not the case with every voracious reader. Mostly idealism holds the minds of readers unintentionally which dictates their thoughts. They consume the ideas what they read by adding those thoughts to their worldview. They set such idealistic approach for everything no matter future career or family future or relationship. However, the beautiful side of these beautiful minds are that they are men of strong commonsense which do not let them long stay idealists in many social conditions or political or economic situations. Anyhow, the distance of the journey from approach of idealistic philosophy to scientific realism is period of unhappiness occupying readers’ minds. In all such circumstances, minds of sleepwalkers are deprived of the said journey who remain joyous.
Fifth, minds of readers eventually turning artful are conscientious minds being more sensitive to different situations and conditions than minds of casual or non-readers (casual readers do not fall in the category of extensive readers rather they are everyday readers of stories and articles in newspapers and online). The former are circumspect who regret if they have not replied any point satisfactorily during discussion or sharing ideas with someone. The regret grips their thoughts with inner voices coming from their insides that as to why they did not reply the point in this way or that way or why the argument was not encountered with or supported by the other way with that particular reference etc. These feelings sadden the artful readers’ minds. Casual or non-readers’ minds ignore and forget all such situations thereby they live happy and lighthearted life.
Sixth, the readers are silent and stay quiet. Given history, speech is the first destiny of human progress achieved through efforts of centuries long articulating expression. In addition, famous cliché is known to everyone that men are social animals. They live and socialize with their fellow beings. But, men begin to suffer from deprivation of blessing of speech and socializing when their minds turn genius through extensive reading. Such minds further begin to see the world with broad perspectives. They share their deep perspectives and opinions on issues while recipients of their message do not catch and understand with the same level of their voices. They find hard to get anyone of their level to talk with reciprocity of the same level. And, other people do not talk to genius minds to their level of high perspectives. In readership crisis-ridden society, intelligent minds hardly find any like-minded person with whom they could share meaningful ideas with the same level on issues covering from international politics to domestic, from serious socio-economic issues to philosophy and history so on. They face these circumstances daily due to which they remain calm. When these situations turn them quiet, thereby deprive them of speech and socializing. The dilemma of prolonged silence unnoticeably causes distress because sharing ideas with like-minded persons release tensions in many cases. Non-reader majority find like-minded people anywhere to interact with at ease on foods, fruits, eating, dressing and discussing about people; and enjoy their blithe and carefree times.
Finally, many findings of researches have revealed that highly readers’ minds, though not all of them, suffer from social anxiety and psychiatric bipolar disorders resulting from over-thinking and making over-analyzing of every situation. Over-thinking and over-analysis are results of extensive and intensive readings. Thus, over-thinking and over-analysis depress and distress them unconsciously when they draw conclusion on any matter or social conditions. [However, the bright point of over-analysis of external social conditions, economic, political and other situations and is that readers know clearly complex issues which make them less depressed which is vice versa in case of casual or non-readers.] The non-reader majority are unmindful of such over-thinking/analysis due to which they live free of psychological problem.
All above signs and symptoms are found regularly in extensive readers which should not be taken negatively rather they are blessings in themselves which readers get after decades of lots of readings. All above dilemmas, thoughts and feelings have their own unique enjoyment with which readers become used to and compatible. In short, an awful lot of book reading has its own pleasure with massive benefits of positive results readers are blessed with while non-readers are deprived of. It is only readers who measure the level and approach of others soon while non-readers are deprived of this valuable yardstick. Readers know what’s happening and how the world works, but non-readers don’t know. Based on setting value how to live a meaningful life, the value of reading and managing to stay alive by hiding between covers of a book really gives meaning to life.
The writer is a former policy development officer in counter-extremism and counterterrorism wing of NACTA, and a civil servant in the government of Balochistan. He can be reached at ullah.rehmat@hotmail.com.
DisclaimerViews expressed in this article are those of the author and Balochistan Voices not necessarily agrees with them.
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