Books open the world
We need to remember, that there are alternatives to the media; television and such like that offer wide range of knowledge and entertainment. Most importantly the world that opens up to the individual; through books; Listening; discussion; involvement; and the art of communication; can bring endless avenues of interest and pleasure. Economically, it cost nothing to join the library. Boring, I hear you say. Have you tried it recently? Has school put you off reading for life? Has television numbed your mind to the written word?
There can be a certain amount of mental and physical discipline involved. You need to find the right book, that inspires; which starts a continuum to finding others. You may not find up to date news in books; but what you will find in the right book; is ways to interpret the news and what is going on around you. The finger needs to find the strength to press the button on the remote to – off. You may need to escape the chaos of the household (go to library) But once smitten the rewards are enlightenment.
Books vs human contact
Having said that; books are not essential to intelligence, or knowledge. Books are a tool like any other and should be used as such. We must not confuse information and knowledge, with intelligence. Intelligence is gained through the shaping of knowledge into useful ideas. The oldest cultures in history were oral cultures, and had no need for the written word; in communicating ideas. (That’s why we write their histories for them.) But these cultures relied and rely heavily on community contact to express such ideas. Yes books and technology are useful resources in communication and information gathering; but they do not come anywhere near the resource we all have in abundance; cost nothing; can be adapted to anyone’s use and understanding; and has stood the test of time – human contact -without human contact knowledge wanes.