Sometimes we have difficulty focusing on reading (often due to depression/anxiety), which sucks because many of us read philosophy to calm and center ourselves. This year, i started reading to myself aloud, recording the text in order to process it later (e.g. separating the act of reading from the act of interpreting/comprehending). I am finding that reading a text aloud and then listening to it brings more complex elements of the work–even/especially in texts that I’ve read many times before–to light. I am also finding that these recordings work even better as coping/soothing tools that “silent” (internal) reading. Recorded texts can become super helpful in staving off panic attacks, helping a person get to sleep/ward off nightmares, or in attempts to find cognitive bearings in general.

Whether aloud/heard or silently/internally, accessing and performing abstract/philosophical/theoretical ideation can be strong mental medicine, reminding reader-thinkers that our mentalities and ways of perceiving are both subjective/relative and contextually/historically/conceptually/linguistically interconnected, that humxns care a lot about our own existences and are always working through what it means to be alive, and that (as bell hooks concludes the text uploaded here) that we are not alone. We don’t have to “agree” with everything that other philosophers/theorists write, or think their propositions are “true” or expressed “accurately;” criticality, skepticism, and judgement can also spark creativity and give us better senses of who we are, what we think/feel, and why we think/feel what we do.

Maybe others who find pleasure in deep thought may enjoy/find usefulness in these recordings too (even though my voice is pretty nasal/fried and can be annoying, sorry). I’m also thinking of those who are deep thinkers but may be also having difficulty reading for whatever reason, or don’t enjoy reading, or have visual and/or cognitive differences that effect sight reading from print. I also see reading out loud to others as an act of love and intimacy, akin to bedtime stories read to kids, or lovers trading off chapters in a shared favorite book.

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