Yesterday the removal men emptied my old house and brought all the contents to the new. This included many bags full of books. My library is not that large, and most of it is novels. For I usually prefer to have scholarly materials in PDF form.
On seeing the shelves set up to receive them, one of the men said, rather than asked, “You haven’t read all these books, have you.”
I told him that indeed I had, and more than once. I do not keep books that I will never read again.
He said nothing, but disbelief emanated from him. Later I heard one of his workmates ask him if he had ever read a book, and he freely admitted that he never had.
So much that we take for granted is not true. We live, surrounded by a vast number of people for whom the life of the mind is not merely something that they do not participate in, but it is something that they do not even believe in, or believe that anybody else does. It’s just a way of showing off, or something.
Such people are very many in number, and probably the overwhelming majority of those whom we meet in life.
Are we perhaps the aliens, then?