You come across the most intriguing things when you’re on the hunt for university statements. This is one example.
I was looking for a specific statement regarding ‘Little Foot’, which is a rare, nearly complete skeleton of Australopithecus first discovered 21 years ago in a cave at Sterkfontein in central South Africa. New dating places Little Foot as an older relative of Lucy, a famous Australopithecus skeleton dated at 3.2 million years old that was found in Ethiopia. It is thought that Australopithecus is an evolutionary ancestor to humans that lived between 2 million and 4 million years ago.
So here is what I stumbled upon quite by accident…
Read widely and challenge the world
A story of the inspiring message given to the graduation audience of the Faculty of Humanities of the University of the Witwatersrand, Johannesburg by Distinguished Professor in Wits University’s Creative Writing department, Ivan Vladislavić.
Even reading the wrong book at the right time may change lives. And often it is these books that challenge a person’s thoughts, and inspires them to greatness.
“Many people become more conservative in age, and read more often to have their views confirmed, than challenged – to be consoled, rather than to be unsettled,” said Vladislavić, who encouraged the graduates to read widely.
“Reading widely is a defence against the tyranny of those who wish to impose their narrow views on everyone else,” he said.
“The freedom to choose what you read is a vital one. It is inseparable from the other constitutional freedoms we enjoy. Reading deeply, is a defence against superficiality. We live in an age of distraction. Everywhere, always, we are likely to be interrupted by media, more assertive, more seductive than the written page.”
“Fewer people grapple with texts that test the limits of understanding or their imagination. Yet, this is the kind of reading that matters most.”
Click here to read the full story.
And if you’re interested in the Little Foot story, you can read Purdue’s statement and see their video here.