Why you need to find mentors in your reading. Even if they’re fictional (or dead). | by Tod Alexandr | Mar, 2024

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We all face a very big problem. Complexity.

Photo by Linus Sandvide on Unsplash

The exponential growth of complexity in our world threatens to crush anyone striving to understand life broadly, deeply.

If you’re trying to wrap your head around big subjects, you need to get outside of your own context window, your own life-silo. You need to absorb the perspective of others, en masse.

“If you haven’t read hundreds of books, you are functionally illiterate, and you will be incompetent, because your personal experiences alone aren’t broad enough to sustain you.” ― Jim Mattis

“A reader lives a thousand lives before he dies, said Jojen. The man who never reads lives only one.” ― George R.R. Martin

To do this, you need mentors.

Sometimes the real world just doesn’t cut it. At some point we all understand that old saying “never meet your heroes”.

There are millions of characters who put their thoughts into words for our benefit, fictional or not.

Children don’t shy away from learning lessons from dragon slayers, princesses and talking animals.

Why does “growing up” make some of us swear off these fictional beacons of morality and resilience?

“Integrity has no need for rules” ― Albert Camus

Who better to hold in the back of your mind when the chips are down than the unrelenting, uncompromising Dalinar Kholin? (The Stormlight Archives, by Brandon Sanderson)

Who cares if your personal hero is Goku or Anne of Green Gables? Our existence is absurd. That included all of our teachers.

“Because of the friends I have known, the honorable people I have met, I know I am no solitary hero of unique causes. I know now that when I die, I will live on. That which is important will live on. This is my Legacy; and by the grace of the gods, I am not alone.” ― Drzzt Do’Urden (a character of R.A Salvatore)

Your mental representation of a fictional character is unique. You’re doing more than talking to the author, you’re

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