This may be the first book in the world written and published using bigger spaces in the text. You will get the possibility to evaluate a new scientific idea. You will get the opportunity to answer if texts are wrongly written. That is the main idea of this book. Hence the title. At the same time we can study the will to truth. If scientists can wait to publish results you will be able to know before they do. I urge them to wait to publish their results a year after the release of this book to let everyone first build their own opinion. Then they can get ahead. I think that could strenghten the social capital. What do you think they should do? How should we manage our will to truth? Please give voice to your opinion after reading this book.
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Are texts wrongly written?
Läslighet – klustertextens födelse, del 1/2
Läslighet – klustertextens födelse, del 2/2
Är texter felskrivna?
This is a special book with a special idea. It may be the first book of this kind and because of this I decided to write the book on my own without the help of professionals. I thought it was of paramount importance to publish all my books simultaneously and I decided to do this through a print-on-demand publisher. I have not hired professionals to perfect the language while I could not afford it and because I hesitated on sharing the idea. This may be the wrong decision but now you know why I did it. I felt I had to tell you this.
I am a Swede writing in English. Today many people are very good at writing in English. I may not be one of those people yet. I have tried to write is as well as I can and I have put a lot of effort into it but it may not measure up to your standard. I felt I have to mention all this while many people think that the language in books are especially important. Some people get really annoyed and give a bad review because of it even though they liked the book. If there are any Swenglish expressions I hope they can lead you to a warm smile rather than anything else. I hope you can accept if there are some faults in this book because of my situation and when I get the money to correct them I probably would do it.
Now I may have lowered your expectations a bit too much. I may be too cautious and worry too much. The book may be perfectly alright. The most important thing with books are the ideas. You could be the best writer in the world but without ideas it will not be interesting. I have read plenty of research and they do not use a translator to perfect the language. I find that alright and I hope you will too when you read this book. I hope you will find this book interesting and I wish you a pleasant reading. I also hope that you will benefit greatly from this experience. That has been my main objective.
1.2 The English version compared to the Swedish ones
Some support for answering the questions
3.1 The small question – experiments and science
3.2 The double question – learning
3.2.1 Pedagogical psychodynamics and pedagogical sociability
3.2.2 Phenomenography and variation theory
3.2.3 Pedagogical phenomenology
3.2.4 The history of readliness
3.3 The big questions – philosophy
A few steps back
4.1 Power analytics and phenomenology
4.1.1 My Situation
4.1.2 Power analytical reflection
4.1.3 The birth of the Cluster Text – phenomenological reflection
4.1.4 More about the analytics of power and phenomenology
How about now?
One step further…
6.1 Hermeneutics and positivism
6.1.1 The interpretation and its experimental conditions
6.1.2 Positivistic testing of hypotheses
6.1.3 Further development of the cluster text and of the reader/writer
6.2 Changing of the self
Deconstruction – what do you see now?
7.1.1 The Cluster text used as a contrast fluid
7.1.2 More examples of binaries
7.2 I repeat: -what do you see now?
And then what? What should we do next?
8.1 The working of philosophy
8.2 Ethics and moral
8.2.1 A kind of action theory
8.2.2 Political philosophy
8.6 Philosophy as systems of actions and thoughts
8.6.1 What about feelings?
8.7 Using philosophy
8.8 Philosophy of life
Between you and me – yet another question
9.2 Your conditions – creating a gift
9.3 Transparency – my conditions
9.4 The psychodynamicses and sociability for this question
10.1 What will happen now?
10.2 My ways of answering and my answers – tools for you?
10.3 How do you answer? (What do you do now?)
10.4 Reading speed tables
10.5 And finally…
Appendix. Three alternative text theories
Are texts wrongly written? That is the question that I start with in my big book and I start this shorter English version in the same way. It is not easy to give a straight answer to this question. You will probably notice that when you continue to read. Generally it is not easy to give wise answers and it is even harder to ask the right and wise questions. By this insight we get closer to philosophy.
Most people probably get a little deterred by philosophy. Some see it as deep, others see it as mere gibberish. I see it in another way. In its simplest form I see it as the art of asking and answering questions, where one especially should try to see how we are posing our questions and how we are seeking our answers. If you have another conception of philosophy please bear with me and try for a short period of time to see philosophy as I do. The reason why I ask you this is that I think we can benefit from it. That is something that I really hope to show you through this inquiry. I hope that you will come to see philosophy as a valuable tool for different purposes in all those situations where you pose questions and seek answers.
Are texts wrongly written? That is my simple starting point in this inquiry. The answers are trickier. They are demanding and I will try to show you how we may benefit from not giving answers as fast and easy as we pose our questions. I try to achieve quite a lot of things during this inquiry. They will be clearer as we proceed.
As a small exercise you can try to reflect over your immediate answers to the questions that I pose through this book. There will be a lot more questions than answers in this book. Please take notice of them. You could probably get to know yourself and our age a little better by doing so.
What are your immediate reactions and thoughts you get when you meet a questin and which are the actions you then wish for? Very often thoughts appear almost as a reflex in the stream of consciousness, and almost as often we take those thoughts for an account of whom we really are; that we are ourselves. But we could also be on the path of becoming someone else. That is why I wish for you to try to consider your immediate answers, and maybe let them become questions with different possible answers. Let the questions linger!
Initially I should also mention that all the expositions in this book use the thesis that the cluster text (some variation of this kind of text) is true. That may not be the case and you have to bare this in mind as you continue to read. I use the thesis because it will make a better text without lengthy sections of objections.
I use philosophy as a practical tool in this inquiry and now I will try to explain a little of how I see it according to my matters.
It is sad that philosophy is not known well by all men and women. It is even more sad that some see it as too difficult or too deep, and that others reject it saying that it is mere gibberish. The reputation of philosophy could be better. How do you feel when I mention philosophy? Are you losing interest or do you feel excited? Do you feel that this is not any of your concern or do you think: -oh wow, this is great, now I will get the opportunity to get to know this subject a little better. When I write about philosophy I feel as if I have to try to motivate someone who is already losing interest. It feels like philosophy is creating a distance between you and me. Is that the case? And if that is the case – why is it like that? I hope that you keep on reading and by doing so I hope to change some of your feelings regarding philosophy.
A good advise: -if you experience some difficulties when reading some sections just keep on reading. It can change further on as we get a little deeper into the inquiry. Bide your time!
If your immediate reaction is that you are not interested in philosophy what is the corresponding question to your reaction? Do you know that? It is like the question disappears when we get some kind of reaction. The reaction/answer seems to be all that matters and we tend to attach ourselves strongly to them. We act as if we already know and use the right answers. In my opinion you are also being philosophical when you use reflection and try to find questions for answers. It is a kind of delaying activity where one asks oneself: -what was the question or what could the question be? I understand this as the activity where you try to bequestion your immediate answers. But, as I mentioned, the general course of actions is to take one’s reactions as an account of whom you are and what you are interested in; we seldom live as bequestioning people – but we could.
I suggest that the question to your reaction is (whatever the reaction was): what is philosophy? If you already know your answer – was it a sensible one? A rational one? (Philosophy is often understood as the rational activity). No matter what you think of philosophy I would like to challenge your position. You could benefit from it, especially during this reading, but also in the future.
I certainly understand if you are disinterested in philosophy and if you have reservations to it. Sadly the use and exposition of it often tends to contribute to such notions. During history philosophy has not been very easy to read. Even nowadays it is not very easy to read. Recent philosophers sometimes write clear and correct but it becomes almost academically dull. Others write unclear and even obscure. But those who are initiated does not see it this way. They are interested in what the writer has to say, and having read hundreds of books before they are well prepared for the next one. They may even have learnt to appreciate the style of the books. The clear, correct and a little dull expression may show the argument in a better way and that is what they could be interested in. In those cases where the books are not so clear they can still be appreciated as artistic, almost poetic, which even beautifies the expressions – it gives them life. The novice may not see any of this. The novices and those who are initiated read texts with different readliness’. One of the objectives with my books is to help you, the reader, to reach a different readliness. By getting through this book you will be differently prepared for future readings no matter what you read.
You may wonder why I try to interest you. I may not have exactly you in mind – I am not trying to convince or interest »the totally disinterested«. Mostly I wish to reach someone in their early teens that with some years of further reading will be really happy that they found their interest through my books. More clearly: -I am trying to reach someone like myself in my early teens. It took me far too long to become really interested and when I got there I did not have the time to assent the interest. You definitely have the time when you are a teenager. That is why I try to motivate you to read philosophy. This being mentioned, I also try to reach others who will benefit from reading some philosophy – like I did when I actually was too old for it.
What is philosophy? Some common answers are that it is our collection of wisdom, a thinking about thinking, an area where you try to answer the big questions (that cannot be handled within science) or that it is a formal science underpinning all the other sciences. Another answer is that philosophy is what philosophers do. Those are all simple and straightforward answers, but to me they do not seem to tell what it is all about. I think it is better to see philosophy as the activity where you are interested in how we pose questions and seek answers, with another formulation: how we find our questions and give our answers. This includes both the questions and answers we take interest in and those we do not show any interest at all.
We are often blind to what we are not interested in (naturally). Our lives get certain directions that make us somewhat blind. When we then suddenly succeed in posing certain questions we also notice how we during history have been blind to them. Within philosophy you can also try to understand such things where we still have not succeeded in posing the right questions – all that we have not succeeded in bequestion and answer. Some philosophers get most of their recognition for being able to pose a good question. Their answers may have flaws, but their ability to pose the right question are also valued; then it is easier for the following philosophers to give better answers. Posing questions is philosophy – it is what you have to do to be wiser.
To see philosophy as the art of posing or asking questions has a long history. The ancient Greeks and Chinese started to ask special questions around 2600 years ago. Two hundred years later Socrates started posing questions differently. He asked questions about how we should live. Through his questions he was accused of misleading the young and he was sentenced to death for it. During history it has sometimes been dangerous being a philosopher. Socrates will forever inspire mankind to be able to see philosophy in a special way – which also I find inspiring and useful. You could see philosophy as the art of getting on with your life in a wiser way – as the art of living wisely. It could be a more rewarding view than seeing philosophy as difficult, deep or as mere gibberish.
It is of special importance how you see things when you are about to take them on. How you see philosophy affect how you will take it on, and in the next step it affects how you will be able to use it in other activities. I start by seeing philosophy as the art of asking questions and giving answers – and that leads me to what I have to do: I have to ask questions and give answers. If we should become wiser I problably should show you how I do it. It must be an objective for me to show you how I did. So I will have to pose a couple of questions and look at how you can answer them. I will also try to give some answers and bequestion them. That is why I started this book with a question.
My books are my answers. But which were the questions for them? I could try to describe my answers as rational and thought-through, then I could assert them as the way I would want people to ask and answer questions due to how texts should be written. But, naturally, the answers also have something to do with my life. I give the books as my answers because I am able to present them as I do – because of the way I have lived. If I would have lived differently I probably would have been forced to give different answers. At the same time I wrote the books, the books became my way of getting on with my life. They became my way of life. They became my answers on the type of questions that Socrates inspired us to pose. How do you see your life and how does it affect how you go about it? Those are the kind of philosophical questions that one always could bear in mind. That view could also be more rewarding than seeing philosophy as difficult, deep or as mere gibberish.
One thing that inspired me to read philosophy is that many philosophers seem to be able to think in a broader sense and to write with a broader perspective. They seem knowledgeable without being it for the sake of seeming knowledgeable. Even if you read a lot it is still easy to get impressed. When I was younger I often got quite annoyed – the writers thought of answers I could not. I often wondered why they were able to and not me? This is getting better though. I may never be as good as them but now I got some of their skills and I find it useful as well as joyful. This is nothing you can brag about (philosophy and a better thinking are not especially appreciated). Something as futile as a somewhat beautified body usually gives a higher status than an improved thinking (this could have something to do with that we do not see it – we often seem to be mesmerized by the things we see and we often tend to pose questions and give answers using that as our starting point).
The public’s conceptions of philosophy, and the reputation philosophy thereby get, is probably affected by the questions it often poses. When one starts asking questions and give answers one often ends up with tricky questions and difficult answers. I certainly understand that novices could find the question: -if a tree falls in the forest… (if you have come across that question) rather deep or difficult, even stupid and unnecessary. But there is an underlying problem which the question exemplifies in a good way. Sadly books about philosophy often tend to discuss almost exclusively these types of questions – even books for novices. I think it is better to approach it in another way – probably because I am interested in pedagogics (I am actively avoiding the word ‘education’). A philosophy, understood as the love of wisdom, should problably always include how one preferably takes ones first steps on the path to wisdom. Sadly the love of wisdom often misses out on this. So I will try to pose some different kinds of questions – as »are texts wrongly written?« – and by this strategy I will try to show you the usefulness of philosophy. Anybody can answer my question but it was hard to pose it (obviously). That is why I think it is a good starting point. So in addition to give some answers to that question and to try to understand some things about readliness I will share some of my experiences of how one could use philosophy. I will try to do this in such a way that you may be able to use it for some of the questions in some area of your life. I hope you will find this strategy rewarding as well as motivating, and if you need some help with getting on with your life you know where to turn (to philosophy!). But be patient – it is not a quick-fix.
To see philosophy as a way of getting on with one’s life means that we see philosophy as a philosophy of life. This is an unusual conception of philosophy within academy and that is probably why it often holds no merit. The strategies in self-help books can be seen as philosophies of life. Very often these books use one idea to explain almost everything – which can be helpful if you are not feeling well. It may be bad philosophy and it is bad science but it seems to be helpful as a philosophy of life if you are experiencing problems – at least if you accept people’s accounts of being helped by them. Some self-help books give answers to questions that philosophy and philosophers tend to ignore. They seem to attract people more than philosophy books (they sell better). This tells us something about how people are posing questions and seeking answers (they seem to want something easily digested). But maybe this tells us more about some aspects of our readliness, about how we read, something that I try to understand a little bit better. The questions of how a text should be written, of how we read, what we read and of how we live overlap each other. That is something I wanted to give you an example of right from the start. This is all part of my conception of readliness. I will comment more on that conception later.
A conception of philosophy that could connect the views of philosophy as the art of posing questions and giving answers, and the art of getting on with one’s life is to see it as a system of thoughts and actions which you always need to reflect upon. To do philosophy usually means to reflect upon thoughts and actions. That is a third conception of philosophy that I use and you can see it as a special combination of the former two. I would also like to add that you are doing philosophy when you try to live philosophical thoughts, when you try to make actions out of reflected thoughts. You can think and write philosophy, and then you can live that philosophy. That may be a way to wisdom and practical knowledge.
As a closure of this section about philosophy: as Gunnar Skirbekk and Nils Gilje puts it in their History of philosophy – philosophy are underpinning our ways of thinking and living even if we know them or not so we may just as well get to know them. In Was ist Aufklärung Michel Foucault writes that Immanuel Kant is the philosopher who poses the question: -what is happening to us, as an important philosophical question. Kant stood in the midst of enlightenment and asked what it meant. What are we? What do we do? What is happening to us? With these kinds of thoughts in our mind it could be wise to try to reach the underlying thoughts of our time. We are affected by the spirits and moods of our time and it could be wise to try to understand them. There are always philosophical elements in them which we can look for. One example is motorism (understood as any other –ism or school of thought, such as socialism or liberalism). It affects the thoughts and actions of our time immensely. An example in Sweden, Drive-by-Stockholm, is that we are planning a 20km motorway for about 60 billion SEK, about 6 billion euros/pound/dollars (30 billion budget – usually gets two or three times more expensive when finished – politicians should never use the budget if they aim for sincerity!). That is motorism in our time and it is an example of how we often think. The typical process that follows is that it creates two political sides which often makes it difficult to express anything else than political views. In Sweden, like in many other countries, we often call them right and left. If the right does not want to build then you are immediately linked to them if you hold the same view in that question – no matter if you are politically interested or not. When we investigate questions it often tends to be done as a list of pros and cons where politicians smear the other side and embellish their own. After almost 3000 years of philosophy that is what we have ended up with – that is how we often tend to think and act, how we tend to pose questions and answer them, in public affairs. Motorism can also be understood as the way we are creating cities, landscapes and villages. Human relations are created by cars. Cars use combustion engines. Engines lead to climate change. Climate change creates human relations. An alternative could be cyclism. Then the world, our thinking and our actions, would have been different. If we would like to understand cyclism we have to go all in. Everything we are prepared to do within motorism must be transformed to cyclism. To replace an -ism with another -ism is not a common strategy of thought and actions in our time. This we could have done in public reports but we do not. You can try to think in this way. I mean that you can try to challenge ways of thinking with other ways of thinking – you can try to reach for alternatives. You can do this for almost any kind of problem – sometimes just to see what can happen with your thinking, sometimes to be able to act differently.
Almost every question tends to be answered within the spirit of our time – mostly because we do not challenge it with different strategies. We have to beware of it in the art of posing questions and giving answers. How do you answer my question (are texts wrongly written?)? Which questions are you posing? How do you get on with your life? What kind of system of thought and actions does it create? How does it relate to our time? Those are some of the questions we can pose by the inspiration from this section.
Now you have got some different conceptions of philosophy and what it can be. You also got a few examples of how we often tend to think which will prevent us from thinking other thoughts – when we understand that, we are ready to move on…
My books are my answers. What do you think that I should have done? What would you have done? In this section I will try to sort out the relations and differences between the books and why they became my kind of answers. It has something to do with how they are written and that will affect your reading – that is why you can benefit from reading this section.
With this shorter English version I try to reach an English audience and hopefully you will be interested in getting a translation of my big book. I have written both a short and a long book in Swedish. The long one is my main book and I could have chosen not to write the small ones. But a special motive is important in our societies. We have to make money. That is one of the main reasons that I wrote the small book and this English version of it, but it is not the most important one. I will come back to this later.
The shorter books become a way for me to get on with my life after the big book, and before that the big book was a way for me to get on with a lot of questions and problems. The latter I will describe in chapter five. Now I can mention, again, that I try to reach someone like myself in my early teens as well as I am trying to write to all of those interested in these matters. An advantage of trying to reach someone in their early teens is that almost all people should be able to read these books. You do not need a special degree or education. So in this English shorter version I write to all those interested in the theory of texts. That was the way of how to do things that I wished to proceed with. I did not wish to only write for specialists or »highly« educated people.
Initially I thought this book only to be a short text that could earn me some money. But due to the readliness of our time I do not think that is even possible. People often chooses to read other kinds of literature, if they even bother to read at all. If my main goal was to make a lot of money I would probably have to write something different. I could have tried to do that but I do not think I am capable of it. I could also have used existing texts and changed them or even start a companionship with a selling author just to make some money. It would have been easier. Instead I chose the strategy that I now use with the hopes of pleasures for you (the reader) and at the same time to get the right reader for the big book (the reader who will benefit from reading it). I will have to live with myself not being very good at making money.
Further on in this book I will mention something about the topics in the big book. My goal is not any real understanding in this shorter version. I just want you to feel that you would like to carry on reading and that you will feel a little satisfied just gaining some awareness of the topics. You will probably benefit the most if you see this book as an introduction to the big one. That is why I now will give you the title and the index of the big book. By doing this, I hope you will understand some of the connections between them. Title: Readliness. Subtitle: The birth of the cluster text, Ars Discendi I – Ars Legendi, Introduction to the Art of Learning. The main chapter titles are as follows:
Cp1. Reading instructions, reading expectations, inspirations, ambitions and some reservations
Cp2. Pedagogical psychology and Pedagogical points
Cp3. A starting relation to Foucault
Cp4. Phenomenology and the Birth of Cluster text
Cp5. Critical Hermeneutics and the Knowledge of Reading
Cp6. Micro power learning (learn how to write cluster texts) and Disciplinary techniques
Cp7. Deconstruction and the Text in Society
Cp8. Positivism and the Scientific method
Cp9. Philosophy, Moral, Knowledge
Cp10. The Non-history of Cluster texts
Cp11. Ars Legendi – Learning and reading
Cp 12. Introduction to Ars Discendi – Are texts wrongly written?
Right now, this may not mean very much to you, but after reading this book you will at least have some awareness of the concepts. You should not expect more than that of this book. In the big book, Readliness, I try to develop something that I call the Art of Learning (Ars Discendi in latin) and it starts with the Art of Reading (Ars Legendi in latin). Expectations are of incredible importance in the art of reading. If you expect more than what is possible you may get confused and probably disappointed. That is why I mention all this. Lower your expectations (of understanding) and try to read in a more relaxed and entertaining way. Try to be content with some awareness and hopefully a couple of insights – that has been the main objective for this book. I just want you to be able to see some differences between the different perspectives in this book. In Readliness I try to explain the perspectives more thoroughly and I am much more devious about explaining myself and the things I write about. There you will be able to understand much more. By understanding I mean that you will probably be able to make good use of the different perspectives. Understanding is Use! If you then like to understand them even better you would have to go to the sources that I used in Readliness.
It is important to understand these kinds of expectations when you are supposed to read and learn. Initial understanding could probably better be understood as a way of getting accustomed to things – not as some immediate insights. In this book I am not trying to write for understanding, I just want you to get an opportunity to get accustomed to the words and perspectives that I use. This is an important insight when thinking about learning matters. Sadly many, even people in educational practices, live with the idea that it should be possible to explain something with an almost instant understanding. This is often followed by some unwanted impacts. In some cases some will see it as bad education if one not succeeds in understanding. In other cases the pupils will start to see themselves as stupid and not being able to understand – especially when they are reading and are trying to learn and understand something. They could start to see themselves as bad readers. Most educators are content with some pupils understanding something and then you go on. I recommend that you try to use the strategy of trying to get accustomed to things more often. Eventually understanding may appear.
The big book could also be seen in this way:
The art of Living (The art of Learning (The art of Reading (Cluster texts))). It starts with the cluster text in the core, and then you move outwards through the arts of reading and learning, towards the art of living as a kind of philosophy of life. In this view philosophy becomes a tool for developing them all and I use the theory of cluster text to mediate all those areas and philosophy. In this view I see science as a part of philosophy, as a part of our wisdom. There is no division between them – a view that is common to the thinking of our time.
How one writes a book affects how others can read it. You could say that the Art of Writing is underpinning the Art of Reading, and you could also say that thoughts about learning affect how one writes. This is central and often used in the big book. In this book I write more like we usually write. As an example I make an extensive use of footnotes in Readliness which I do not use here at all. In Readliness I also turn against the simplification and succinctness hysteria that I think is so pervasive in our time. It takes about a thousand pages to develop the explanations and relations between the different perspectives, and for me to be able to write for better understandings. It could not be replaced by a dozen of books each explaining a different perspective. Then you would not have got the same understanding. We seem to write books with a predetermined idea of how long a book should be instead of using thoughts about learning and understanding. Some may object to this and say that a lengthy book will not be read. That is a different problem, and it will not be better if we adapt to it by writing shorter texts. It becomes a negative development with even shorter texts, causing people to read even less with an even worse understanding of things. We have seen that for quite some time! I wish that I have written a book that may be hard to start reading (it is a brick!), but if one does, I hope one will experience satisfaction and a large reward. That may be a way to change existing matters.
The hysteria of simplification and succinctness is noticeable almost everywhere. In examination practices some educators could express that one should respect the limit of page numbers. You do not want to be a chatter box. It is important to be able to write neat and tidy, to write effectively, in a short number of pages, despite the fact that there are quite some evidence that we read two well written pages as fast as a very dense one – and probably we do it with a much better understanding. I try to show this with my books. You could get the idea that you understand something quite alright by reading this book but when you read the big book you will see that you missed a lot. I hope you will experience an even larger appreciation of the big book than this one. Due to all this you could say that this smaller book is an adaptation to our age and that the big book is a work of change.
The big book with about a thousand pages – who will even read it? Who will even accept to publish it? Who got the time to read it? These kinds of questions evolve from the readliness of our time. Those who love to read and learn, is my answer. The big book is a concentration of my reading experience of a couple of hundred books. Due to that even my book is a kind of simplification – but hopefully not an oversimplification. It could not be of less pages without sacrifices. Additionally, the number of pages is what is required if an advanced reader should be able to read the clustered text over a period of two days. My concern is to give enough opportunities for learning and understanding through an experience of a cluster text that is enough comprehensive so that one could produce a good answer of how we should read and write. With a shorter text we may end up with the wrong answers. I care less about that in this book; you will just get a taste of the cluster text. In this book my objective is to write a short text which can be read in an evening or a weekend by almost anyone. Some will read it in less than three hours, for others it will take longer.
All of the above, and some other things which I do not mention here, have been deciding for how I have been able to write the books, and this makes the limit of what you can read and understand. Do not forget that and do not expect more than possible. I hope that you will find something in this book that you will personally experience with great appreciation and that it will give you a great reading experience, in addition to the awareness and opportunity for getting accustomed to things that you hopefully also will appreciate.
I have waited a couple of pages and now I will try to further explain a little about what I mean by readliness. I considered to use the subtitle, The small book of readliness to this book but in the end I did not. In this book I just discuss a couple of aspects concerning texts and reading. The big one is wider in range and also deeper in almost every aspect concerning the subject matters. They are both about readliness.
Readliness is what I see as everything important concerning reading. Almost anything could be seen in terms of readliness. As an example: what you eat affects how you feel and this also affects how much you can read. Another example: if you are watching television you do not read. All such effects could be seen as a part of our understanding of readliness. Everything we do and do not do affect our readliness. You could use the questioning words – where, when, what, why and how – to try to understand some aspects of our readliness. You could ask where, when, what, why and how we are reading and also where, when, what, why and how we are not reading. If we do something else we do not read and that also creates a certain readliness. If that differs in a couple of years our readliness have changed.
Another starting point is to try to understand readliness from an objective, intersubjective or subjective point of view. By objective I mean phenomena of the object, by intersubjective I mean interpersonal phenomena (onwards I call this sociability) and by subjective I mean individual factors that affect the readliness of a specific person. An example of a subjective factor is the psychodynamic of the reader. With psychodynamic I mostly mean the direction of the emotional and volitional powers of an individual. I will touch upon these matters onwards. The borders between these factors should probably be seen as floating. How something is written can be seen as properties of the text object, as a means of some specific intersubjectivity (like how we write to each other) or subjectively as a verdict of how a specific person reads. What you call these phenomena are of less importance – they are just means for understanding some aspect of a specific readliness or for trying to change it. A specific example that shows some aspects of our readliness is our reading of manuals. About 70% of us will almost never read them and a few of us likes to read them. This is an example of our sociability in terms of readliness – our social readliness. It could be like this because of the way manuals are written (the object) or because of the readliness that individuals have acquired during their upbringing. Of course it could also depend on the object that the manuals are supposed to explain but that is of less importance here (in the big book I am much more thorough with these kinds of objections and comments, here I mostly neglect them).
The readliness of our time is weak. Not many see it as something important. Some may say it is important but their actions tell us something different. Very few work for a good or even just a little better readliness. The bar is set low. Usually most are content if people can read. There are almost no discourse or list of actions concerning the goal of being a better reader. There is almost no commonly known study or book, almost no commonly known pedagogical thought, of how one could be a better reader (speed reading is false). If you are in school there is no training for being an advanced reader. Most readers in Sweden read with 200wpm (words per minute). A select few seem to read with 400-500wpm. We could have had the ambition for everyone to read very well but that is not the case. We could also have had the ambition that almost everyone would like to read. But there is also a lack of that practice. In Sweden as much as 25% of the adult population never reads a book. Such phenomena and much else concerning readliness affect other areas of our lives. In working life we often have a strong confidence in the oral tradition and manual labor. We try to talk and act through almost all of our work. We seldom read. We go to several meetings but produce very little text. The texts we produce are not good enough and very few of us are reading them. You do not read very much at work – you are mostly doing something else. If you are supposed to read it is very often within a course. That is a rough draft of our working life readliness.
It also seems as there is a general decrease in reading. Books and papers seem to be less complicated and the texts seems to be shorter with more pictures. At least this seem to be the case in Sweden. One could compare newspaper articles between different countries. An editorial in a big paper in Germany is probably different than in Sweden. Another example is the textbooks in Swedish schools. Earlier they were pretty thick, nowadays they are thinner with a lot of pictures. Sometimes they skip the books altogether (we should not be surprised if people get detered by thick books – they are raised and educated to do so). I could go on with a lot of examples but I hope you get my point. We produce a special readliness and we seem to do it in ways we do not understand with results that we probably do not wish for.
By different phenomena emerging from our readliness we form different thoughts, about ourselves and others, and with that as a base we share different statements with each other. The latter could, with an academic word, be understood as discourses. Discourses evolve through some phenomena of our readliness and there is also a discourse of readliness. One example is that some people say that they do not have to read and that they manage just fine: -I am a practical person, I am good with my hands, I learn best from listening or by doing, these are statements that propagate within discourses. One could say that they create support for not reading. The phenomena of readliness and the discourse of readliness support each other. Other people love to read and would rather have done that than listening or working practically. They are in trouble because we seldom develop those kinds of texts. If you come to a new working place there are probably no good texts for learning. It could take years to be good at a job. You have to experience a lot of different situations to be able to learn. With a couple of thousand pages this could be done in a few weeks. The main example of troubled reading is of course in our schools and educations. It is usually a body of knowledge corresponding to just over a hundred books that you are supposed to understand. It takes twelve years, something like 4000 days, and in Sweden some would even like to extend this period with a year and with shorter holidays. So you could say that it is not a very ambitious reading and writing practice. Instead you are mostly doing something else in schools – you do not read and write very much.
It is towards this background that I am interested in readliness. Most often we live our lives with the readliness we get from school. It is a tough business to develop one’s reading when you are an adult. Working life often takes ten hours a day, preparations and travel included. At home you are supposed to make meals, exercise as well as have some fun and/ or have some hobbies. If you have children you have even less time and if you are a single parent (which many are) it is really tough. Even during the schooling years it seems tough. Alternative businesses control our sociability and our psychodynamic. It is tough to be preoccupied with developing ones readliness. One’s preoccupations, especially the preoccupation of our mind, are interesting when thinking about readliness – both the preoccupations of common men and researchers. We have put a lot of effort in dyslexia and how we learn to read with 200wpm (like most do). The latter is what most people are engaged in. For the sake of accuracy I have to mention that there are thoughts and actions about speed reading but they are false and unscientific. All this is interesting with philosophy in mind, especially when we see philosophy as the art of posing questions and giving answers. We are posing special readliness questions and are giving special readliness answers both as researchers and common people. Other questions and answers we do not care about at all. It creates blind spots. We are maybe handling one such blind spot right now. Spacebar texts could be altered to cluster texts. This could affect other areas of readliness; we can reach a new readliness.
I now presume that you can grasp a little of my conception of readliness. I will mention more specific phenomena…
How something is written affects how it will be read. The writer can use meta-comments of how one is supposed to read the text, and by this way enhance the quality of reading. Otherwise you will often read with the readliness you have acquired. You read as you are used to. I use a lot of meta-comments in the big book and I wrote it as I think one should write books. In this book I care less. I write as we often write and you have to read as you often read. This affects many simple things. In this text I tend to use more simple words. With this strategy I may lose some precision and probably miss out on some good learning possibilities. In the big book I frequently use difficult words but I also use footnotes as support for them. Almost every word that can be troublesome for the common reader is explained in the notes at the bottom of the page. Using difficult words can be practical. Once you understand them you know exactly what is intended. More common or simple words can have a meaning which is closely but not exactly corresponding. Such small phenomena affect readliness. It is easy to think that simplifications are of great importance but it can prove to be counterproductive. Pedagogics is not only about simplifications. It is all about more and better learning which some simplifications support and others do not (so pedagogics is about simplifications but it has to be the right ones).
The term readliness is inspired from a special area of philosophy – phenomenology (I will write more about it in the next chapter). Within phenomenology they sometimes talk about timeliness/temporality and roomliness/spatiality. Do you agree that the text will be harder if I only wrote temporality and spatiality? As an English reader you may be more used to them. In Swedish they are certainly tougher. I start with explaining timeliness.
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