Jarrel Oliveira
4 min readFeb 29, 2024


The hallowing of the mind occurs when we settle. Principally on matters of awareness and self-awareness. Meaning, that we tend to become less of ourselves when we believe we have nothing more to learn, and with that, less yet to add to the world because of it. Ignorance isn’t the only thing at play here because arrogance and hubris are just as buoyant and, therefore visible from a distance, both impeding one’s development as a person and a member of society.

I read because I struggle with the ever-desperate desire to learn more. Now, learning isn’t necessarily a path I take to educate the ignorant neighbor or to elucidate and humiliate the haughty fool. No. The learning of all things is a humbling experience I’ve devoted my life to so as not to believe myself accomplished, arrived, or worthy of, say, having attained enough knowledge to become an expert. Experts, too, are ignorant of many fields they’ve yet to study, you know.

Therefore I read, to stun and stunt my ignorance. To stymie that itch in my heart, the pride that often bubbles to the top and with it a supercilious sentiment of false superiority. When I’m exposed to new and practical information, the knowing man inside me is brought once more to his knees in defeat, a necessary defeat to remind him that he knows very little and even the little he knows often requires correction.

Books, more so, the characters within them, tend to guide me away from pitfalls I would have otherwise haphazardly walked into in the real world. They inform me of the world of arithmetics I will never truly and fully grasp, excite me about philosophies I will never entirely comprehend, policies and laws I will never understand, cuisines and delicious dishes I will never experiment with, songs I will never have the luxury of listening to, and heroes — and villains — I will never meet.

And that’s fine.

I’m constantly reminded of the grand and ever-expanding universe before me in the stories, biographies, histories, and fables I engage every single time I open a book, click open an ebook, or tune into an audiobook.

My creative self is always at the mercy of authors and storytellers whose prose and attention to detail — sounds, sights, texture, moods, objects, lexicology, etymology, and neologisms — are lightyears ahead of mine. And that’s fine. Listen, I’m perfectly comfortable understanding that I am a lifelong student of this art form and will possibly die an even more ignorant man than the baby “me” who entered this world. With more knowledge comes more grief, mainly, from the fact that the more you know the more you realize just how little you actually know about the world, people, habits, forms, and styles in it.

I read because I love to read but also because reading makes me more aware of myself — faults and all.

As cathartic a practice reading is it isn’t an easy one as it requires my utmost concentration, the abasement of my willingness to multitask, the demolition of my premonition on what the end of a story or a character arc will be, and the complete divestment of my thinking I have or might have the ability to write as well as the many authors whose works I consume en masse.

When I distance myself from my ego, well, more so when I sedate it, the easier it is for me to not only enjoy but also understand and come to love the fascinating, life-transforming tales I read every single day.

Someone may say reading isn’t for them but that’s a defeatist and contradictory statement to make. People who denounce reading as boring tend to be bored with what they write and say. Hence, they gossip. I believe everyone has a genre, however sacrosanct or sacrilegious, they love to consume. Whether it be medical journals, spicy Amish rom-coms (believe me, they exist), theological musings, grotesque body snatcher horror, squirrel medieval sci-fi fantasy, the rise and fall of empires, germ warfare, political science, economics in the bronze age, or magazines that detail the mundane life of celebrities.

We all have a shared interest in learning more about something or someone. The issue is we believe that consuming that information from a magazine, a blog, a journal, or a YouTube video’s subtitles is not, by definition, reading as in reading from a book. We are storytellers by default who love to consume stories from everywhere. We have just foolishly believed the lie that reading, especially reading from a book, is not only boring but unnecessary for our development, enjoyment, and progress.

Lastly, I read because I write. Well, because I want to write better. I do not believe, although my belief is irrelevant, that a great storyteller can accomplish what he set out to do, well, without himself having consumed copious amounts of stories from other storytellers who, themselves, consume copious amounts of stories.

A healthy and rewarding cycle, really.

Descartes thought, therefore he was. I read, therefore I write. Therefore I live.

The consequence of the opposite, namely, of not reading for enjoyment, growth, and progress, is delusion, erratic behavior, visions of grandeur, ignorance, and hubris.

The less I read the more I want to dye my face orange, lie about how much I pay on taxes, inflate my property value to acquire higher-value loans at lower interest rates from banks, mock anyone who disagrees with me, dismiss people more intelligent than myself, become a serial adulterer, and, if the idiocy continues, I might want to run for president of the United States of America.

You wouldn’t want that, would you?

Time will tell.

Until then, I’ll read to stave off the ignorance.

Speak up for those who cannot speak for themselves; ensure justice for those being crushed. — Proverbs 31:8 NLT

Originally published on olivettheory.com.



Jarrel Oliveira

Husband | Girl Dad x4 | Dude | Dilettante | Blogger | Brazilian living in Canada. Life motto: Jesus said cool things.