Sunday, December 16, 2007

Who says fiction is a waste of time?

I heard someone say that fiction was a complete waste of time. He wanted his son to practice reading, so he gave him an article on milk production. How rivetting! Sure, it might be worth knowing about, but unless you're into that sort of thing, reading about it becomes an effort. A good story that gets you in makes you want to read. That's not just me. I'm not judging everyone else by myself. The fiction industry is huge. Why? People like reading. Someone else ran an interesting thought by me once, too. In good narrative fiction, or real life type fiction, the reader can experience things in a way that might not be possible in real life. That might be just as well. How many people would want to go to war? But if you read some of the classics, like "All Quiet on the Western Front," the writer can give you a sense of being there - and if you need any convincing that war is not some sort of grand adventure, that should do the trick.
Some of the books I've read, like some of the better movies I've seen, let you see what the consequences of a thing can be, too. That's hardly a new idea. The Greeks of the ancient world used theatre as a didactic way of teaching moral lessons. So did dramatists in the Age of Shakespeare. So writing is a way of sharing things with others. And it can make some critical points. If you read "Jurassic Park" (Michael Crichton) one of his characters makes the point that knowledge, especially scientific knowledge, is like inherited wealth. You did not have to earn it, so you do not always have proper respect for it. Hence the problem of knowledge without conscience - a dangerous mix!

1 comment:

Jenny B. said...

Whenever I bump into anyone of that ilk, I am reminded of how boring people are who do not have imaginations. God made us to be like Him: creative and imaginative. Without imaginations, how are we to have faith?