what the loss of literature means

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what the loss of literature means

Postby Peter Kropotkin » Sat Apr 30, 2022 7:30 pm

for over 400 years, or since the writing of "Don Quixote" by
Cervantes _1605_ literature has played a powerful role in our civilization...

but we have lost literature as a tool... (although lost may not
be the best way to describe it, more like throw it away)

so, what is the value of literature?

Literature can play many different, diverse roles...
Literature can be educational and instructive,
but it also plays a role in offering us something which
is hope.... Literature has gone from only being about
the "higher" classes, king, nobles to being about "common"
people... literature that not only informs but tell us
about the "human condition".....

the novels, "Anna Karenina" for example or "The Brothers Karamazov"
are examples of stories that show us the possibilities of the
human condition...and the key word is "possibilities"....
what is possible for us humans, is very important, if not
the most important aspect of human existence...
or said another way, literature offers us hope...
and I believe that those two words, possibilities and hope,
are the same thing.....

we can see this in the closeted play, Faust.... by Goethe.....

Faust is one who has all the knowledge that is possible for
a human being and yet, he is still dissatisfied and unhappy...
the pursuit of pure knowledge is good, but is not everything...
what he is missing is the human connection... if we live for the books,
we miss the part of being human, which is that we
are social creatures, we are creatures, human beings, that
not only need but demand to be connected in a very physical manner
to other human beings...and in the play, Mephisto and Faust,
in Faust seeking what is left, work out that what is missing is
the human connection in Faust's life.... the new goal of Faust
becomes the pursuit of Margaret.... to seek love...
to become whole.... it is not enough to "know" but to "feel"
becomes the goal..... in other words, we seek to become whole
by both knowing and feeling.... and Goethe writing in the midst of
the German/European Romanticism, then put feeling, connecting
higher than the seeking of knowledge... and it is important to
know that Faust allows Margaret to die in jail.... and that is another
thing to know about feelings... it gives permission for us to
make other suffer, even to their death because we dismiss the
feeling of others as less important than our own feelings....
we can only hold to being human if, if we give others the
same importance to their feelings as we give to our own feelings....
which in modern terms means we allow others to their feelings of
being the "wrong" sex, to loving the same sex, to honor
those who follow their own feelings in what we call,
LGBTQI... to deny that in others, is to deny their feelings
as less important than your own feelings...
once again, we return to the declaration of independence,

''That all men/people are created equal''

and therein lies, in part, the value of literature...
by ''inhabiting'' the lives of others, we can see and feel,
the values and feelings of others....

or said another way, we can see the hopes and possibilities
of other people....

but today, we don't have literature to inform us of
the possibilities and hopes of others...today we have
movies and TV shows to inform us of our possibilities
and hopes... we don't even pay much attention to plays
anymore...Shakespeare was invaluable to generations of
people as to the possibilities of human beings...

in fact, show me some literature of the last century,
that riveled Hamlet soliloquy... and to prove my point,
I don't even have to name that speech for everyone to
know what I am talking about.....

In fact, Hamlet's speech is part of our collective heritage,
part of the legacy left to us by the past...

but feel free to name me a part of legacy written within
the last hundred years...has the literature over the last
hundred years failed to leave us any such legacy like Hamlet
because of the failure in literature or in the failure in us?

Perhaps an answer can be found in Goethe himself?

Goethe wrote that in FAUST,

''Two souls, alas, dwell in my soul,
each seeks to rule without the other....''

How are we to write literature that ''solves'' the question
of both aspects of the ''two' souls''....

we have, in our two souls, feeling- a need to connect
with others... secondly, the need to seek knowledge...
which isn't connected to the basic human need to connect
with others on a very personal level....

the need to know, to seek knowledge is, perhaps, the need to
connect to existence on an intellectual level... to connect to the
universe with ideas, thoughts, formulas.. in math, science
history and philosophy.. among others....

we need, in a real sense, to connect to the world in both
senses, the intellectual and in emotional/feelings...

we may have moved past or evolved past the literature of the
past and need to create literature that answers the questions
of existence that answers both our ''feelings'' and our
''intellectual'' needs...a modern literature... and this might
explain the rise of Science Fiction... which does attempt
to bridge the gap between the emotions and the intellect....

and Sci-Fi does bring us something of the old literature in
which Sci-Fi does offer us hope and possibilities....

we have replaced Anna Karenina with the Foundation
series...or the Lord of the Rings....

if you are pushed into answering the question, what is your
favorite literature and you cannot answer, what does that say?

Now if only I could get the other "members of the collection of truth"
to put me on ignore, life would be good..

Peter Kropotkin
ILP Legend
Posts: 11269
Joined: Thu Apr 07, 2005 1:47 am
Location: blue state

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