Reading Is Not Learning

Emerson heavily emphasizes on the influence of the past and books when it comes to the way we learn. He states “Books are the best type of the influence of the past, and perhaps we shall get at the truth – learn the amount of this influence more conveniently, – by considering their value alone.” (Emerson Paragraph 11) He admits that people can still benefit from books and if people use it correctly they can attain knowledge from it. However, books should not be the substructure of a person’s education. He points out that books aren’t the only factors when it comes to learning as books have their limitations. He points out that books cannot offer as much and that it limit the mind from thinking further from what they read. He reiterates to not fully rely on the text, but to experience it and to actively think. Emerson says, “Genius looks forward, the eyes of man are set in his forehead, not to his handheld: man hopes: genius creates.” (Emerson Paragraph 16) When a man is really thinking, it is a man who creates, not one who read other peoples’ creations. The power of knowledge is not merely just from books, but from one’s mind in using their own experiences.

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