Literature and it's Relevance in Current Society

Changing the Way Society Views Literature

The fact that literature seems foreign and uninteresting to those outside of the esoteric realm of literary scholars, it is no wonder so many people in our society have sociological disorders—having trouble interacting with the people they encounter everyday, work, family, friends, etc….

The reading and interpretation of literature, literary criticisms, and even a minor knowledge in theory gives one insight into the personal perspectives of how people lived and functioned together, as well as how a specific societal culture operated during that time period. If resurgence in this topic would take hold, it is entirely possible our society could witness positive results from the experience.

No matter how often it is said, "history repeats itself," we must learn from it, currently a significant majority of contemporary people focus more on how to control others, and how to obtain more wealth, or power, rather than comprehending, or sincerely evaluating who they are as individual human beings, or their role as a participant on earth.

This obvious disregard is taking its toll on our individual relationships, beginning on a personal, and escalating to the societal, and worldly levels. There is no longer any sense of responsibility, and ones own values are subject to personal “loss or gain” criteria. Congressmen can go around soliciting sex on the Internet. Financial brokers can rob people of their savings, and there is absolutely no personal accountability, and no conscious emotion of how they have wronged those around them, only a concern for self. Isn’t this partly how Rome fell?

While one can read history and discover Rome’s general plethora of troubles, this could be relatively boring, the more interesting way to this revelation is through the many fictional stories, about Rome’s rulers, fiction is based in fact, or it wouldn’t be believable, even minor characters have a story to tell. This delves into the more personal scenarios, which likely took place during this expanded time period.

 The way a society behaves, right or wrong, and what causes its “fall” or demise, is witnessed many times throughout literature, and still is, whether told through a fictional perspective, or historic documentation, wrongs have taken place at many levels and continue to, there is no avoiding this, but the trouble is we seem not to learn from it, as though we have had no previous help in determining good from evil.

What assists us in this learning process is literature. Neither math nor science can teach us the process of action and reaction according to, individual psychological concepts that persist according to our environment growing up, and our genetic order.  The understanding of why this is relevant to our survival is necessary to human interaction, and the comprehension of what it means to us as people who share a past. Folklore and fairy tales didn’t originate to entertain children, but instead to teach all of society how to behave in order to survive, and get along.

In the past the arts were once controlling disciplines that societies felt important, and therefore respected. Painting, architecture, and writing where important to the Pharaoh, king, or ruling monarch, why, because they realized this was a way to leave a permanent stamp on their legacy.

Don Quixote, although fictional, was quiet concerned with what his story would reveal about his life, once it was written, and his life became restructured through what he read. Although Quijote took his being a famous and chivalrous knight-errant to the extreme, he listened and respected the once honorable society that stood for righteous moral value—he cared for the greater good of people, even if a little crazy, he chose to sway his insanity toward the good of humanity, and not toward self-preservation, even risking his life, more than enough. Can we say the same for today’s politicians?

Today a student can be in debt $100,000 for an education, and the only way there is benefits for this are if your studies are in science or math, there are no forgiveness programs, and hardly any scholarships for Arts and Literature, why because society says this is not as important as science or math, and this is because literature doesn’t revolve around technology, and that is where the money is.

Where is the concern for the understanding of personal behavior, and how to conduct oneself appropriately in our society?

When the significance of literature suffers, humankind suffers with it.

Literature encompasses many fields of study, writing, psychology, history, religion, anthropology, politics, and philosophy. Therefore it is an invaluable knowledge base that should never go untapped, and the pursuit of its understanding needs to become more valued as a prize left to us by those who came before, and those who continue to share what it means to be human.