It’s Not Enough to Possess a Good Mind

I talk about reading slowly, but why does it matter? You can watch YouTube summaries, purchase cliff notes, and conspire with ChatGPT to say that you’ve “read the novel.” In high school, we were assigned Hemingway’s beautiful book, The Old Man and the Sea. Most of the students cheated and rented the movie.

I’m working on my book notes for René Descartes, A Discourse on the Method, and I came across a passage that made me smile. “For it is not enough to possess a good mind; the most important thing is to apply it correctly. The greatest minds are capable of the greatest vices as well as the greatest virtues; those who go forward but very slowly can get further, if they always follow the right road, than those who are in too much of a hurry and stray off it” (5).

I love tech and what it does for me, but for some reason, what Descartes said about slowing down to stay on the right road makes sense. Every time I speed up, I make mistakes in my obsession to get things done. The older I get, the more I realize that I want more from a book than finishing it – I want to learn something from it.

Until tomorrow, read slowly – take notes – apply the ideas.



Works Cited:

Descartes, René, and Ian Maclean. A Discourse on the Method of Correctly Conducting One’s Reason and Seeking Truth in the Sciences. Oxford University Press, 2008.

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