Also called bibliotherapy (though easy to morph into bibliomania!), reading at length and in depth about topics that relate to our areas of needed growth can help us to become more knowledgeable about the things that ail us—which in turn helps us to actually grow despite our weaknesses as we apply to our daily life what we are learning.
The act of reading may be stressful to some people if they find that they are becoming overwhelmed by what they are reading. The solution, then, is not to read less but to read more strategically. The point is not to read every word on every page of whatever resource we are consulting. The point is to dive in, yes, but to learn to be adept at bobbing up for air whenever we need it. Immerse yourself in information (dunk), then come up to reflect on it a bit before returning to the waters (dry). This process of dunk-and-dry helps to keep us from becoming needlessly (but understandably) overwhelmed by all the information we have at our fingertips on any given topic (given this age of digitally-accessible information).
If we excuse ignorance away by saying that reading causes us anxiety, then we are not helping ourselves. We are complicating the problem of ignorance with the foolishness of choosing to remain that way. Ignorance just means that you don’t know that you don’t know something. But foolishness (otherwise known as stupidity) is when you do know something but choose to do nothing with what you know. Foolishness, aka stupidity, is also when you know that you don’t know something but choose to not take measures to know it (i.e., to learn about what you need to know).
Additionally, it is utter stupidity to know that you need to learn more about a topic in order to better help yourself, perhaps through reading as this strategy is suggesting, but you choose not to become more educated even though you could do so easily and freely. While pure ignorance is not in itself an offence, and while willful ignorance is an offence in and of itself, it’s a far worse offence to be stupid than it is to be ignorant. We must do something with what we know and have learned if we hope to ever improve as human beings. We can’t just know a bunch of stuff. This is how we get fat heads. Application of knowledge is exercise of the intellect.
So keep reading, and keep doing something with what you read. We will never learn everything that there is to know about everything, but that doesn’t mean we can’t start somewhere—especially on matters that relate to our personal growth and development. We should be aware of who and what we are reading—just because it’s in print doesn’t mean it’s fully true. Yet, there is much that is in print because it is monumentally true. We have to be critical readers, thinkers, and decision makers when it comes to the knowledge we hold to be credible—which is why intellectual illiteracy is decreased by reading more, not less.