The reason was that after work, I went to play a murder mystery game. Faced with lengthy text, everyone complained about how tiring it was to read. At that moment, a colleague sighed, "It seems like we have lost the ability to read long texts."
I didn't really like this statement, but I couldn't refute it and could only silently accept it.
So what exactly is considered a long text? Is there a standard? If we consider the word count of the essays we used to write for the college entrance exam, let's say 800 words can be considered a long text. It seems that we used to have the ability to read and write long texts. But now, when faced with murder mystery scripts that easily exceed tens of thousands of words, it does seem like we have indeed lost the ability to read long texts.
However, I still have doubts. Reading long texts, a seemingly ordinary skill, has become a target of criticism by self-media. Is it a scarce ability?
No, in fact, it is this phrase "seems to have lost" that has such a great destructive power. Anything, as long as it is applied, such as "seems to have lost the ability to sleep well," "seems to have lost the ability to write," "seems to have lost the ability to make friends," and so on, these things that belong to our own daily lives, our private matters, seem to be put under the magnifying glass of self-media, subjected to nitpicking scrutiny (seemingly, with a hint of poetic language 🐶).
Stepping out of the trap set by this versatile phrase, and reexamining this issue, having questions is always a good thing. We don't need to feel guilty, but rather discuss the matter at hand. Have we really lost the ability to read long texts? I don't think so.
In the scenario described at the beginning, when we are tired from work and faced with texts that exceed tens of thousands of words, it is understandable to complain a bit. We don't need to be subjected to this kind of pick-up artist-style blame.
Reading long texts is closely related to attention. When you have enough attention and are not tired, even the "Twenty-Four Histories" in front of you would be a piece of cake.
Someone might ask, what about short videos and games? Haven't they also taken away our attention? Does that mean we have lost the ability to read long texts?
Attention may be divided, but it will also recover. It's just that with prolonged indulgence, it becomes difficult to concentrate. But this doesn't mean we have lost the ability to read long texts. After all, even long texts are read in sections. Just take your time.
It's just that in the eyes of some people, it seems that if you don't read a long text in one go, you don't truly possess the ability to read; it seems that if you don't study like a monk all day, you're not truly disciplined.
Xunzi advises you to study, but he never seems to demand that you force yourself. "A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step." Accumulate slowly and success will come.
Also, the quality of the text will also affect reading efficiency, but I won't dwell on that. Just compare the simplified and traditional Chinese versions of "Jerusalem: The Biography" and you'll understand.
I just hope that those self-media creators who focus on word count can put in less effort and focus more on producing quality content. "It seems like you have lost the ability to write good articles."