Reading is a bootcamp for developing and exercising critical thinking. Without that — intellectual apocalypse! And critical thinking is about developing a point of view, and all writing is — or, should be — about arguing a point of view, implicitly or explicitly. When you bring the crowd into the equation, this concept completely disappears — because a crowd cannot have a point of view, at least not one that is simultaneously focused and authentic to each individual in the crowd.
I don’t need a focus group of strangers to tell me what I should be reading or, more dangerously, how to read what I’m reading. Decision by committee doesn’t work in creative labor, and it certainly doesn’t work in intellectual labor.
"Though writing has become the most commonplace of information technologies, it remains in many ways the most magical. Brought into focus by properly educated eyes, artificial glyphs scrawled onto the surface of objects leap unbidden into the mind, bringing with them sounds, meanings, data. In fact, it is very difficult to gaze intentionally upon a page of script written in a known language and not automatically begin reading it. The ecophilosopher David Abram notes that, just as a Zuni elder, so do we hear voices pouring out of our printed alphabets. “This is a form of animism that we take for granted, but it is animism nonetheless—as mysterious as a talking stone.” We forget this mystery for the same reason we forget that writing is a technology: We have so thoroughly absorbed this machine into the gray sponge of our brains that it is extremely tough to figure out where writing stops and the mind itself starts."
, Techgnosis (1998)