For those who've been told writing is an archaic, out-moded hindrance in the contemporary world, I submit this quotation from Time's Person of the Year interview with Barack Obama.
As I was flying back to the United States yesterday afternoon, I found myself reading and re-reading this portion of the fascinating interview. Having dealt with the stigmas of the study of Literature and History, it's refreshing to see such an intelligent take on the value of writing from such an influential figure.
Amidst a year of tests and accomplishments in business, I'm frequently greeted with looks of sheer bafflement and shock when I mention my degree. There's a strange alienation in the West from the value of thinking. Despite the paramount importance of effective communication and reasoning, we treat the formal study of such endeavors as limiting.
The root cause is that, for whatever reason, people are afraid to be left alone with their thoughts. Dancing around realities with phones held high in front of our eyes, we obscure ourselves from our experiences and tidy the truth away into the depths of our sub-conscious.
Entertaining stimuli and quick, unfulfilling routes to monetary success have replaced the benefits of thinking and confronting our troubles. We've fooled ourselves into this false sense of catharsis, wherein the technology aids us and our problems simply melt away. Where the study of business is the sole route toward success, the works of great thinkers relegated to the realms of monetarily irrelevance.
Realistically, though, as evidenced by one of the most powerful men in the world, there is little more constructive, valuable, and indelible than committing words to paper. It's an act at the root of all disciplines, but one that has been obscured out of a strange fear of expression and self-awareness.
So, for those of you who choose not to study things like Literature, I offer the President of the United States' testimony as to the under-appreciated value of the written word. It's an endeavor undeserving of derision and self-deprecation, but rather deserving of praise and appreciation from all facets of the modern world.
After a year of writing online, I leave you with this article and quotation as my last of 2012.
Thank you for reading, writing, and making 2012 all that it has been. Here's to a productive, exciting, and challenging new year.