People read books (and that includes, of course, "listening to others speak", and THAT includes, of course, "listening to oneself" yammer on incessantly) because one wishes to be "inspired". AND, if one could inspire oneself - and I mean, REALLY DO IT - then one would have little further use for books, and other people (that ruminate on these subjects - either directly or indirectly) - that their function exists, for one, only to provide such stimulation that might, ultimately lead to that wished-for (self) "inspiration". That is, for you, people and books serve, primarily THIS function - to give YOU something to think about, because you're not original enough to come up with something on your own!
Now, you can (and knowing "you", you probably will) argue with my proposition, coming at it from a variety of directions. Some might say, people read books (listen to people, think), "to learn (new) stuff they don't already know", or simply, merely, for enjoyment, entertainment. In any case, no matter which argument you are made to hear screaming in your head, what the brain is doing, by compelling you to read and listen to the output of other brains, is, ultimately to be inspired.
Now, "inspiration" is quite an interesting word. Especially, when contrasted with its ordinary opposite - "expiration". Look them up: they both are filled with further "inspiration", for those with "ears to hear".
But, to continue... So what! Right? Isn't that what "IT" is saying right about now? So what?
As if to say (your brain, that is): "Hey, I already (sort of) know that already, thinking "new stuff" feels good - big deal!". But, if you already DID know that - that the purpose of YOUR brain activity is (instant, eye-blink by eye-blink) "inspiration", while simultaneously knowing that YOUR (final, TERMINAL) "expiration" is what is fast approaching, then let me ask you again: Why do you insist, and almost all people believe, that there is some "deeper meaning" behind what people say, and that it can be communicated via the written word, and (this is the KEY to penetrating this koan...) "I can know it, dammit!"
Oh yeah? Says who?
(Don't expect an answer, because you can't provide it - nevertheless, this IS what you believe, or else, you would NOT be reading books and talking about them, with others or yourself, so, so willingly.)
But, consider further. The dualism - Inspiration/Expiration - just about covers the entire Life of Man, from his highest, inner, absolutely unique, non-physical possibilities, to his lowest, basest gross-physical, shared-with-all-beings, eventuality. Yes, from birth to death, from Inspiration to Expiration, humanity travels this mysterious road, picking up his little bits and pieces along the way, and for what! To talk about them?!?