Some years ago, I overheard a clerk in a religious bookstore say to a customer, “These ideas are dangerous!”
While I appreciate efforts to guide readers to helpful books, I don’t believe we as readers should live in fear of ideas. For instance, if I were gullible enough to agree with everything I read and see, I might be:
- Ingesting pills that supposedly contain vegetables and fruit so I don’t have to eat vegetables or fruit.
- Drinking an energy elixir.
- Using a specific brand of shampoo to improve my hair.
- Feeding a pet treats to lessen the animal’s anxiety.
- Ordering pizza at midnight. (See: Overeating.)
- Applying a miracle cream on my skin to enhance my appearance.
- Patronizing a restaurant serving too much food drizzled in melted cheese and dripping a trail of salt and oil. (See: Overeating.)
- Spraying wonder tape on every broken object in the house because it looks fun and cool.
I’m not saying that nothing we see or read has value or that none of these ideas and products work. I am saying that we, as adult readers and consumers, can exercise discernment.
Consider vegetable pills. I guess you’ll be hungry if you consume all your fruits and vegetables in pill form instead of eating five to six cups of fruits and vegetables a day. Then you just might be looking for potato or corn chips to eat. Not only is chip form not the best way to eat vegetables, but potatoes and corn are, at best, starchy vegetables to be consumed in moderation. How about buying squash (which is a fruit) and onions. Rinse and peel, then slice and dice. Boil in a pan until soft, then transfer to a frying pan to sauté in a small amount of butter. Serve.
Admittedly, cooking this way is an involved process, so I like to make what my mother called a” mess” of squash. But what a joy to eat over gulping a pill!
In a hurry? Buy plain frozen veggies in a bag you can microwave for five minutes and serve.
You might say, “What’s all this talk about vegetables?”
I share my thoughts to illustrate a process you already know: discernment. When you see information that doesn’t seem correct, you have the power to discard it as rubbish. Just because you read something doesn’t mean you agree with it. Or that you are obliged to agree.
To be an informed author, be a well-read reader. Read carefully and thoughtfully. Then take your knowledge and share it through introspective nonfiction and brilliant fiction. Your readers will thank you.