Dear Dirty America

DDA

Frederick Douglass’ Shot of LSD

March 10
22:00 2012
ADAM MICHAEL LUEBKE
Los Angeles

To continue repeating the idea that reading is power, and education is strength, and knowledge is might, here is Frederick Douglass attesting to the powers of literacy:

The silver trump of freedom had roused my soul to eternal wakefulness. Freedom now appeared, to disappear no more forever. It was heard in every sound, and seen in every thing. It was ever present to torment me with a sense of my wretched condition. I saw nothing without seeing it, I heard nothing without hearing it, and felt nothing without feeling it. It looked from every star, it smiled in every calm, breathed in every wind, and moved in every storm.

Stumbling into vaster mental realms with new ideas can be disheartening, also. Douglass, when he first learned to read, was dismayed to more deeply comprehend his role in society as a slave.

The more I read, the more I was led to abhor and detest my enslavers. I could regard them in no other light than a band of successful robbers, who had left their homes, and  gone to Africa, and stolen us from our homes, and in a strange land reduced us to slavery…. I would at times feel that learning to read had been a curse rather than a blessing. It had given me a view of my wretched condition, without the remedy. 

Literacy was like a shot of LSD for Douglass. He suddenly “saw” reality from an alternate, loftier perspective. His mind was blown wide open, for better or worse. He then recognized his status, his position, and the awful ungodly crimes of his enslavers.

The way to empower yourselves is knowledge. An educated public is a powerful one. An educated public will hopefully not be manipulated and swayed by every corporate ad or piece of government propaganda. Instead of a society leery of higher education, it should welcome self education as bolstering the good of the people.

Drugs have never really worked for me, but reading has opened up unimaginable worlds for me. Every insight, big or small, is like that hit of a psychedelic drug that fizzles your old way of viewing reality, and weaves into it a new perception.

It’s that “ah-ha” moment. That smile on your face when a writer nails an idea you’ve had with a single sentence, or a well-wrought paragraph. Or when a writer gifts you with an insight you’ve never had before. The satisfaction you get after reading the last page of a freshly finished book.

Exercise the skill of reading, which Frederick Douglass had to work so hard by craft and cunning to finally achieve. 

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