Thursday, May 14, 2015
Which Truths Have Books Not Uncovered?
Here’s something that has not been fully nor meaningfully explored. With the continued surge in self-publishing and the production of some 3,000 new titles daily (from traditional, indie and self), the public is clearly being given a choice on what books to read. Further, the filters and gatekeepers of the major publishers no longer solely determine which ideas and stories get to be seen and heard. But with all of this freedom and the explosion in book releases on topics of all sizes and shapes, noting new has come from it. The truth is out there, but is anyone listening?
What I’m saying is that if someone has an experience, a viewpoint, a theory, a complaint, an idea, a fantasy or a real newsworthy statement, he or she has easy access to publish a book – or a blog – or release videos and images via numerous social media outlets. But with all of these communication vehicles available, what’s been made public that the big publishing houses had kept us from seeing?
Not much, or so it appears.
The new problem now is not in a writer having the availability and means to be published – uncensored – but in his or her ability to actually be read or heard. It seems everyone has something to say, but not enough of us are listening.
What if Jesus was reincarnated and wrote a book or someone uncovered an important scientific formula or a psychiatrist came up with a way for people to stop doing harmful behaviors? Would you even know about the book? Would you have time to read it? How would you go about validating its veracity and accuracy?
I’m afraid we’ve reached a saturation point in the information circulating out there. Does this mean fewer books should be published? Not necessarily, but we need a better way of cataloging, reviewing, and summarizing each book so that people can not only find what they need but learn about what they didn’t know exists.
The news media, to a degree, tries to do this for us, but it’s understaffed and limited in its coverage. Social media has opened up dialogues on all things, but when we’re all talking at one another it’s hard to hear anything. We lack a singular trusted, trained, unbiased source to comprehensively evaluate all books by an objective standard. Without having a national librarian to do this, we swim in deep water without a life preserver. So many ideas and so much knowledge can be at our fingertips but it overwhelms, confuses, and suffocates us.
The pendulum has shifted over the years. At one point, little confirmation was disseminated or even known. Now most of the population has access to a ton of media and books. But we still await the discovery of greater truths and we still wait for society to act on the knowledge that is uncovered and disseminated. Tons of books are out there on diets, but we’re an obese nation. Plenty of books warning about environmental degradation but little is done to save the planet. Many books on personal finance, but people still can’t stay out of debt.
Are we really prepared – mentally, physically, or intellectually – to learn something new that could alter our understanding of the world? We want our books to teach us, to help us dream, and to be inspiring – but when such books are published, do we really embrace them and fulfill their message?
Perhaps we have a lot of books out there that cover a handful of topics or themes that simply mirror one another. We think there’s so much choice in what to read but maybe millions of books only reflect a few thousand ideas of which we choose to incorporate only a few hundred into our lives.
If a life-changing book is published would you know it exists? Would you read it? Would you act on it?
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