I believe that anyone who doesn't read remains dumb. Even if they know how, failing to regularly ingest the written word dooms them to ignorance, no matter what else they have or do.
It is phenomenal how fast a little toot of smack will take away the agony of withdrawal and most other kinds of pain. What it cannot take away it makes meaningless. You may still have a broken arm, but somehow it doesn't matter so much. The same is true for angst and anxiety. It cancels pain so hidden that you were unaware of its existence until it disappeared.
....decay and disfavor came together as other parts of the coast were developed, and the canals became weed-clogged ditches breeding mosquitoes, and the hotels were turned into third-rate apartments.