[Jean-Henri Fabre] said that to be educated was not to be taught but to wake up. It takes a heap of resolve to keep from going to sleep in the middle of the show. It’s not that we want to sleep our lives away. It’s that it requires certain kinds of energy, certain capacities for taking the world into our consciousness, certain real powers of body and soul to be a match for reality.*
(M. C. Richards)
To read is to expose a vulnerability, for at least a brief moment, to surrender to another perspective, to bring it inside yourself and try it on.**
Knowledge is food to be consumed, claims M. C. Richards, but just as we do not come to resemble the food but our metabolisms turn it into energy so that our food resembles us:
Our knowledge, if we allow it to be transformed within us, turns into capacity for life-serving human deeds.*
We may be wary of knowledge depending on where it comes from. It may even poison us, but probably not. More likely it will make us stronger and healthier.
Knowing who we are and what we want to bring to others provides us with a strong metabolism for whatever we consume.
(From M. C. Richards’ Centering.)
(**From Aaron Koblin‘s letter to you readers in Maria Popova and Claudia Bedrick’s A Velocity of Being.)