"All of humanity's problems stem from man's inability to sit quietly in a room alone." – Blaise Pascal, Pensées
He should have added "without a book"
I read all the time. Real books, e-books, even audio books. There is rarely a moment when I am not cramming new ideas into my head.
But it occurred to me recently that my appetite for reading is partly a diversionary tactic, a way of avoiding being present. I have prided myself on not "wasting time" distracting myself with television, or even reading fiction, but the incessant barrage of ideas is its own form of distraction. It brings its own pressure and becomes a higher order of noise.
The search for novelty, for the one big idea that will make everything better, the escape from the present into an idealised future, these are things to be guarded against.
I have begun practising putting my books down occasionally. This feels like a good thing.