Many pundits dis television and laud reading as a wonderful, educational, mind-expansive experience...but not everybody shares this point of view. Outdoorsman and tracker Tom Brown piqued my interest when he lumped reading and watching television in the same category.

His basic belief is that both television and books serve as a wall between the individual and the world at large. Being an outdoorsman and naturalist of sorts, he believes the natural environment is of prime importance to humanity, and thus anything that serves as a barrier between humans and their natural environment should not be viewed as an absolute positive.

Now, I don't mean to imply that he believes reading is a bad thing. It's just not necessarily as fundamentally and absolutely positive as it is sometimes made out to be.

Reading can at times serve as a crutch, a way of distancing oneself from the real world, an intellectual surrogate for true life experience. Of course, there are no absolutes - the natural environment is not a panacea for the world's ills, and one could certainly argue that the label "real" is highly subjective and potentially meaningless...but I think I'm losing my focus...