With Respect to the Reader


eyes painted on the wall

With Respect to the Reader

When I was a kid I was taught that every book, every film, every piece of human creativity was of value and I should respect it. I was expected to read a book without destroying it. I was expected to know the biographies of authors or names of actors because I was told they were important. Later on in my life, the same presumption supported discussion on piracy because when people started to share culture on the Internet some of its authors claimed they were being robbed: they had invested some amount of work to produce something of value but they were not remunerated.

This specific approach to authors comes from times when most of people didn’t create anything (because they were illiterate or too busy working for their overlords). It is in a way similar to the respect which in many cultures is paid to old people. Centuries ago an old person was only one of thousands who survived and the only one who could store and pass on knowledge. Today most of the society in the west is ageing and it’s the young who catch up with knowledge, and passing this up a generation, not the other way round. I definitely think we should respect old people as well as we should respect authors creating culture but I also want to spot that their roles have changed.

It takes time to sleep well, eat well, look after your beloved ones, work the way that produces something purposeful and there is little time left to learn something or to entertain yourself. Work is value but time is value as well – and in the age of automated work time is even more precious. Moreover, nowadays – thanks to mass education and mass access to technology like computers or cameras – anybody can produce something of value. I am an expert in communication not in economy so I may be wrong but if supply goes up (as more and more people create) and demand is limited (because people’s time is limited) it is no-brainer that some of this work will not be paid. What is even worse – some of this work will receive neither money nor attention. Consequently, some good culture will probably pass unnoticed!

There is so much flooding us every day – via social media, via television, via papers – and it is easy to get distracted and to miss what is important. That is why an ability to be selective while dealing with media becomes one of the most important skills that we need to learn and it should be a milestone of every education programme. On the other hand it happens so often that those who claim to be authors are too proud or too self-centred to consider the amount of time and attention they occupy, and to tailor their output accordingly. I am starting this blog with this text because I want to show you that I am aware of this problem and even though I am trying to grab a bit of your attention I promise to do it fairly and make you busy only with important issues. Hoping that you will find this blog worth reading and subscribing…

With the Kindest Regards, Magda Zena

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