Two ideas that need more reflection

I attended a number of talks this week, and in two cases heard statements being made that were never given critical reflection.  I thought I'd lay them before you so you could fix that.

First, on the topic of reading:

There are only two reasons to read: pleasure and  for information gathering.
I nearly fell out of my chair when I heard this, and my wife made sure I stayed quiet.  The idea that reading produces something, whether pleasure or information is missing something critical, namely, the _process _of reading.  Inherit in this statement is the idea that texts contain meaning, that we reassemble something folded within the pages left there by the author.  The speaker said this to make the point that the west is infatuated with print literacy, and reading as reading; whereas, he wanted to elevate the result of reading so as to dispense with reading as an act in and of itself.  What made it worse is that this came from an English teacher.

Second, on the issue of openness:

'Open' is the antonym of 'Power'.
This statement was dropped into a talk without causing a ripple among the other attendees.  What I find interesting is how the metaphor of 'opening', when applied to communities, source code, etc. comes to represent a binary state: either open or closed.  What this misses is the being of openness.  In order to be open, a group or a project must always do something, and in so doing, not do other things (e.g., exclude).  It is always an act of intentionality and never a default state one can enjoy without work, without power.  I would argue that being open requires power, and is power's ultimate expression: for one to exclude the other, nothing more is required than a refusal to do something, to be open.

Now that I'm steaming, time to get to work!

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