flowersforalgernonTHE IDEA: Try to read a book. Books used to be my world. Now they are harbingers of trouble.

THE RUB: Choose wisely.

I should’ve just started out with something easy, entertaining and light on the eyes.  I thought going back to 8th grade English would be an easy reopen to any page. I opened “Flowers for Algernon” by Daniel Keyes. I knew that I am having experiences at least loosely empathetic with the protagonist of this story, but I’d forgotten about Plato opening up the book:

Any one who has common sense will remember that the bewilderments of the eyes are of two kinds, and arise from two causes, either from coming out of the light or from going into the light, which is true of the mind’s eye, quite as much as of the bodily eye; and he who remembers this when he sees any one whose vision is perplexed and weak, will not be too ready to laugh; he will first ask whether that soul ‘of man has come out of the brighter life, and is unable to see because unaccustomed to the dark, or having turned from darkness to the day is dazzled by excess of light. And he will count the one happy in his condition and
state of being, and he will pity the other; or, if he have a mind to laugh at the soul which comes from below into the light, there will be more reason in this than in the laugh which greets him who returns from above out of the light into the den.  – Plato, The Republic

Thank you, Plato, for reminding me of the difference between reading’s heavy sighs and millions of arbitrary internet articles that sass and entertain. I have forgotten the difference completely, and that’s almost as terrifying a prospect as the premiss of Flowers for Algernon.  Now I am going to go read.

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