"How to Read/How to Think"
Much of this is reminiscent of a rather famous recent book, Thinking, Fast and Slow by Daniel Kahneman. Kahneman writes that actually thinking is a great deal of work, so most of the time, we avoid it by calling up quick associations.
"If a writer tries to provoke thinking .... is it an attempt to liberate readers from the mechanical repetition of dead thoughts?" (Page 71). Much of Wilson's writing is an attempt to liberate readers in this way.
Wilson's observations on the virtue of paying attention has implications for everyday life. Most traffic accidents are caused by a driver's momentary lapse of attention. The best books require a reader to pay attention to every sentence.
"How to Read/How to Think (Afterwords)"
"One of the irritations that provoked this piece in the first place was certain neo-pagans in California who regularly speak about Christians in the way that Hitler used to speak about Jews." (Page 73).
Perhaps it is an interesting exercise for the reader to think of examples of when he/she is tempted to do the same thing, to speak about "Republicans" as a group (or "liberals" or "conservatives" or "libertarians.") Anyone who identifies as a libertarian (or is labelled as such) will be assured that he "is" a racist. I know I have to struggle against putting simple labels on Republicans.
"Why do you live in Ireland, Dr. Wilson?"
Swift "served human liberty" (line 5)
Swift wrote his own epitaph, which said, "Go forth, Voyager,
and copy, if you can,
this vigorous (to the best of his ability)
Champion of Liberty." (Wikipedia article here.)
"The Poet as Defense Early Warning Radar System"
"Poets are the unacknowledged legislators of the world" -- Percy Bysshe Shelley. Perhaps in the 20th century, novelists and filmmakers took over that role?