Tell me what you read, and I will tell you who you are. A Slovak proverb, or at least a proverb-like dictum (I suspect it originated in either the 19th or 20th Century, while a typical Slovak proverb is much older than that). In Slovak, povedz mi, co citas a ja ti poviem, kto si.

Whatever its time of origin, the dictum expresses not one but two grains of truth.

First, what or who we are does influence what we read. We choose books, magazines, web sites, and other reading materials according to what interests us as well as according to what we need to know for the line of work we are in. It has happened in many an episode of Law and Order (a crime series on American television) that the police find a specific type of reading materials in the appartment of a suspect and that only confirms their suspicion. In those cases, the police (or at least the TV writers) applied this dictum quite literally.

The other truth is that what we read has an influence on who or what we are. It provides us with information, sometimes factual, at other times in the form of opinions. It helps us form our own opinions, attitudes and outlooks on life. In that way it influences what or who we are.

As Everythingians, we need to be aware of this second truth whenever we node: Whatever we write will be read by others, hopefully for a long time to come. That means we have a responsibility to make sure that our own words help make others better, finer, more interesting and clever, more sophisticated, or more of some other positive attribute.

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