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Friday, July 4, 2008

Reading, conference and writing make a full man

“Reading makes a full man, conference a ready man and writing an exact man.” Write influence do you think reading, conversation and writing have in making you a citizen of the world?

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The major aim is to become and to be a citizen of the world. One may be a citizen of a town or city or a country that is easy because the spirit of the place grows into one’s own blood. However, to be a citizen of the world it calls for broader outlook, deep understanding and a judicious appreciation of other cultures; very few people could claim to be a citizen of the world. But it is plain that there have been and there are people who have reached that height. If we analyze and study their lives, we could see how their education interactions with others and writings have made them citizens of the world. So let us see the role played by reading, interactions and writing in the make up of a citizen of the world.

First of all take the case of reading. One reads for pleasure or for understanding or for improving his stock of knowledge. What we read in schools or colleges or professional institutions is only the basic; they show and guide what and where to look for. For examples, specialists like doctors, lawyers or engineers cannot be content with what they have studied in their colleges. Unless they study professional publications later they cannot be up to date. Thus a lawyer may study law reports; a doctor may study professional magazines and monographs. For pleasure we read a lot in our own mother tongue and in other languages as well. The companionship of books is the best that one could look for. Books may please you and never offend you. The reading may be light as a weekend magazine or it may be a master piece. One may read materials pertaining to his profession or personal interest; he may also read books on other areas for fun. Thus one may read books on dozens of different interests and this reading surely goes to make him a full or an all-round man. Such people of wide knowledge are really useful.

Very few people are good conversationalists though there are many well-read men. To be a good conversationalist, one requires certain qualities. Basically one must be a good mixer; in other words one should like to socialize and have the gift of the gab. He must be a good conversationalist and listener; he must never be offensive or must not wound the feelings of the others. At a higher level when a man meets others in conference he learns a lot from them. To be a success at a conference one must have the ability to put forth his arguments forcibly, logically and convincingly. He must have the patience to hear the other man. He must grasp and reply the other man’s point of view quickly. This makes one a ready man.

Coming to writing, we write when we cannot directly converse or talk to. In writing, words are recorded and once the writing goes out of one’s hand and reaches the other person, it becomes a record. The right words in the right place show the depth of knowledge of the writer and his penmanship. One may write simple, loving family letters, serious stories, poems, dramas, business letters and short articles. What ever is written the flow of words shows the man. You must write what you want to express in plain, straight forward language avoiding redundancy. In conversation one may be wandering; digressions are permissible. However, in writing each word or sentence must take you forward. We can see this in the great essays of master writers. The power of written words has been proved in the great books of the world. The compactness, the exactness, the sequence of logic all make good writing. The more one writes the more chastened he becomes like the polishing of a precious stone.

So to be a good citizen of the world one must read a lot, one must learn from companions and one must write. Then he can become a full ready and exact man.
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