Written for lovers of literature interested in self-actualization, Literature: How to Read and Understand the World teaches readers how to derive principles of wisdom from literature and apply them to their lives. The book achieves this through a series of five essential steps, including identifying with literary characters, aggregating principles of wisdom from their experience, and applying those principles to readers’ lives. Along the way, the author reveals his own transformation through this process. Literature: How to Read and Understand the World will help you to enrich your life and world!
Over the next several months, I will be releasing excerpts from the book along with questions to keep readers thinking after reading the posts. If you are intrigued by what you read, please share with a friend!
As with previous steps in this process of reading literature, Executive Summary makes play of the distinction between “subjective” and “objective” realms, here by appropriating a name commonly used for sketches of just the bare facts, but now applying it to that most personal thing: the past, present, and futures of our inner lives. In this regard, I seek to demonstrate something suggested in a previous chapter: that when we make an inner or “subjective” change in ourselves, it sooner or later manifests in “objective” reality; this will be seen in changes I have made in my own life as a result of my Executive Summaries, and it proves the ultimate lack of distinction between “subjective” and “objective” truths. As a second reason for Executive Summary’s name, I want the act to carry its typical referent’s connotation of finality: when we write an Executive Summary, we are declaring that we are done with a past version of ourselves, therefore ready to move into a future which contains more healthful and whole patterns of being. Through writing an Executive Summary about ourselves, we thus simultaneously write about changes brewing and to be in our objective world.
To begin an Executive Summary, first look over your Psychic Map and Affirmations from the previous step, just as preceding work was used as a jumping off point in all previous steps. Here as with others, be sure to look at your Psychic Map and Affirmations not with an analytical eye, but instead with an open, generative one: you are looking for the essence and feeling of what you wrote, not out to dissect or prove anything. From here, open to a fresh page in a journal and answer the following three questions in individual paragraphs:
- Who was I before reading this book?
- Who am I now?
- Now that I have made these changes, how do I expect to see my life change?
Do you have methods of reflecting upon books you’ve read? If so, what kinds of questions do you ask yourself? Do you think there is a physical, transformative effect to reflection? How do you know? For more on these topics, please follow my blog or grab a copy of the book for yourself.