What’s the difference between being informed and being enlightened?
In the Information Age, this may seem like a strange question to ask.
At the same time, it highlights an essential distinction between being well-read and simply reading a lot of information.
Scanning articles on the Internet informs us on a superficial level.
But it cannot create the depth of understanding that enables us to think, assess, weigh, evaluate, imagine, and solve problems more effectively.
We tend to forget that reading is more than simply understanding the words on a page.
That’s what educator Mortimer Adler described as elementary reading and its the level at which most adults in our society read.
He also wrote about inspectional reading where we try to discover what a book has to say in a limited amount of time, like when we cram for an exam.
There’s also analytical reading where we have an unlimited amount of time to examine a book and study it out for ourselves. This is how many people approach reading scripture.
Adler also spoke of syntopical reading in which multiple sources are studied to gain depth and breadth on a particular subject.
Reading to become informed is simply seeking information that tells us that something is the case.
Reading to become enlightened means not only knowing what something is, but also how it interconnects, how it compares to other things and why it is what it is.
It’s a difference worth knowing.
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