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Sunday, January 23, 2000

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Too many books to read!

One of the hardest things for me is to realize that I will never be an expert in anything. I will never read and study enough to become the one people go to on a subject. I have trouble even discussing a subject with other people as I feel so unprepared. There are now over a billion webpages and it seems like a similar number of books and I will be able to read only a very, very small fraction.

I will also not always know if the books I read are the ones that are the most accurate. I try to pick books that are valid or at least a byway that seems possible, but there is so much garbage out there that I will never know if I've really read the truth. Everyone's version of the truth is slightly different, also. There is a consensus among people who are at the top of their field, but often they turn out to be wrong. I still think we can get close to the truth by following, with a grain of salt, the suggestions of people who are considered authorities, but we will never know all the truth.

This is not to say that it's ok to believe what we want, because there is a truth out there and we need to get as close to it as we can, not just ignore what we don't want to be true. I've found that the more I am willing to believe what is the truth, the easier life is even though it's scary at first since I feel like all my crutches have been knocked out from under me.

What brought this all on? I was watching some talking heads show on television this morning that was discussing history and they all seemed so knowledgeable and have read all these history books that sound so great, and I'm sure they were great books, and I'm sure the people on the show were knowledgeable, but it made me feel like an ignoramus. I've now added several more books to my "to be read" list which never gets smaller, only larger.

One reason the list never gets smaller is that when I go to get one of the books on the list, be it at the library or at the bookstore, I find a couple other books that I want to read also. I read my mail lists and add new books. I read newsgroups and add new books. I read books and add new books. I read magazines and add new books. After a while the ones I didn't get to fall so far back on the list I know I never will read them.

If I could concentrate on one area, or sub-area, I might become an authority, but there are too many things I'm interested in. I'd say I was a Renaissance woman but I think I spread my reading too thin to even qualify for that. With the internet, television and movies my attention is caught by even more items of interest. I'd be more depressed but I can't imagine not finding so much of life interesting. I just wish I could get a little more depth in one area.


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(c) Rachel Aschmann 2000.
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