Sunday, July 3, 2011

Leary on true literacy

There's a bit in the Leary interview I mentioned yesterday that I really like:


LEARY: We've come to the conclusion that almost everybody is basically il-
literate. In the Middle Ages there was only one literate person in a thousand,
a monk poring over manuscripts. Nowadays, sure, people can expose them-
selves to words, but it is a very passive, consumerite, almost narcotic process
which has nothing to do with reading, with literacy. Literacy is getting into
an active relationship with a book, like the Gutenberg Bible. That wasn't
something that you'd read while you were falling asleep. It was something
you'd really expect to change your life. You'd expect to get into a dynamic
exchange with the author, to have the book really open you up and move
your head around. This is the way we define literacy. And that's why we say,
perhaps provocatively, that maybe less than one person in a thousand today
uses this ancient Medieval mode.


It seems to me that many of Robert Anton Wilson's readers are literate in the way Leary uses the term -- they have a relationship with his books.

1 comment:

SatoriGuy said...

I would have to agree.

I just finished reading RAW's Coincidance and I have to say the very structure of that book and all the Joycean puns and synchronicities has probably reconfigured a few a few neuroconnections in my mellon.

I don't think that ever happened when I read a John Sandford novel.