What is Literature for?

What is Literature for?

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Language: English

Type: Robot

Number of phrases: 119

Number of words: 798

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00:02
we have a general sense that these sort of places are filled with things that are deeply important but what exactly is literature good for why should we spend our time reading novels or poems when out there big things are going on let ever think about some of the ways that literature benefits us of course it looks like it's wasting time but literature is ultimately the greatest time saver because it gives us access to a range of emotions and events but it would take you years decade millennia to
00:34
try to experience directly literature is the greatest reality simulator a machine that puts you through infinitely more situations than you could ever directly witness it lets you safely that's crucial see what it's like to get divorced or kill someone and feel remorseful Chuck in your job and take off to the desert or make a terrible mistake while leading your country it lets you speed up time in order to see the arc of a life from childhood to old age it gives you the keys to the palace and to countless bedrooms so you
01:05
can assess your life in relation to that of others it introduces you to fascinating people a Roman general an 11th century French princess a Russian upper-class mother just embarking on an affair it takes you across continents in centuries literature Chaucer of provincialism and at almost no cost turns us into citizens of the world literature performs the basic magic of showing us what things look like from someone else's point of view it allows us to consider the consequences of our actions on others in
01:37
a way we otherwise wouldn't and it shows us examples of kindly generous sympathetic people literature typically stands opposed to the dominant value system the one that rewards money keep our writers are on the other side they make a sympathetic to ideas and feelings that are of deep importance but that can't afford airtime in a commercialized status conscious and cynical world we're weirder than we're allowed to admit we often can't say what's really
02:07
on our minds but in books we find descriptions of who we genuinely are and what events are actually like described with an honesty quite different from what ordinary conversation allows for in the best books it's as if the writer knows us better than we know ourselves they find the words to describe the fragile weird special experiences of our inner lives the light on a summer morning the anxiety have felt in gathering the sensations of a first kiss the envy when a friend told us of their
02:38
new business the longing we experienced in the Train looking at a profile of another passenger we never dare to speak to writers open our hearts and minds and give us maps to our own selves so that we can travel in them more reliably and with less of a feeling of paranoia and persecution as the writer Emerson remarked in the works of great writers we find our only neglected forms literature is a corrective to those superficiality and compromises if friendship books are our
03:10
true friends always to hand never too busy giving us unvarnished accounts of what things are really like all of our lives one of our greatest fears is a failing of messing up of becoming as that tabloids put it a loser every day the media takes us into stories of failure interestingly a lot of literature is also about failure in one way or another a great many novels plays poems are about people who messed up people who slept with mum by mistake or we let down their partner or who died
03:41
after running up some debts on shopping sprees if the media got to them they'd make mincemeat out of them but great books don't charge us harshly or as one dimensionally as the media they evoke pity for the hero we fear for ourselves based on a new sense of how near we all are to destroying our own lives but if literature can really do all these things we might need to treat it a bit different to the way we do now we tend to treat it as a distraction and entertainment something for the beach but that's far more than that it's
04:12
really therapy in the broad sense we should learn to treat it as doctors treat their medicines something we prescribe in response to a range of ailments and classify according to the problems it might best be suited to a classic literature deserves its prestige for one reason above all others because it's a tool to help us live and die with a little bit more wisdom goodness and sanity you

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