Monday, January 22, 2007

Notes from my Reading: Importance of Literature

Why is Literature Indispensable for Human Life?

Whether heaven or hell is there or not the world we know is surely there. Whether it is an illusion or idea in the larger sense the world is a reality as long as we are alive there. What is most valuable and important here is not merely knowledge and civilization but love and culture the sustaining force of life in the world. What is important here is surely not animalism nor even spiritualism but only humanism which is the mark of greatest value for human beings and is the message of literature for mankind.

Instinct and Intellect

It is a fact that though man lives by instinct he progresses only by intellect.
In animals instinct over shadows intellect. But in man intellect overshadows instinct.

Among animals, monkey is considered to be superior in faculties. Rat is one of the smallest animals. By instinct rat indulges in sexual activities, whereas monkey learns sexual act only by copying from other animals. This is a scientific observation which informs the power of instinct is higher in rat than in monkey.

Naturally the power of intellect is highest and the power of instinct is lowest in man. Therefore only by knowledge man comes across what sex is all about. When this is so with sex, what do we say about love, the highest form of human expression?

When we are reading the works of poets, philosophers, intellectuals, we can understand very well where their love lies. For example if we read the works of Keats, Wordsworth, Shelley, Shakespeare, Milton, Spinoza, Jesus and Machiavelli, we can understand what love of beauty, Nature, liberty, perfection, greatness, intellect, love and power is respectively.

From this we can say that love means devotion, desire, natural inclination and interest, which is the beginning for everything and without which nothing can be achieved in the world.

This kind of love is the best diversion from tension, anxiety, worries and fear for anyone towards attaining a sense of relief or freedom. Actually by this way only intellect of man might have improved and overcome all kinds of fear. In this respect knowledge of this nature independently or through education is needed for all for getting freedom in the real sense.

Human Culture, the Expression of Literature

Animals don’t lead a planned way of living. But the life of human being is entirely different. From experience man learns a lot, gains knowledge out of it and gets wisdom as time passes on. From the usual activities he forms a routine for himself. In the routine life he follows a system without affecting the privileges, rights and liberties of other people or society.

In the routine life he covers all aspects of human needs such as food, clothing, shelter, education, work, entertainment, arts, music, books, Nature, etc. and tries to achieve harmonious human perfection in life and this sort of living only is usually expressed in literature as human culture. Culture differentiates and ennobles human being from others.

Synthesis of Love and Knowledge for Freedom, Joy, Peace and Satisfaction

Knowledge, wealth and power are needed for the world life. Anyone of the three alone cannot solve and fulfill problems and commitments of life.

But without knowledge other resources cannot be wisely utilized for the betterment of oneself or the world. With high knowledge, power may be gained but human perfection cannot be achieved.

Therefore by the synthesis of love and knowledge only perfection of individual soul can be achieved. Also, harmonious human perfection can be achieved only by culture, since culture is nothing but the “love for and the study of perfection” in thoughts, words and deeds.

It is a fact that human efforts in the field of science and technology, wonderful expressions in literature and religious services are various ways of doing works not for recognition but for spiritual satisfaction.

Further freedom got from the synthesis of love and knowledge leading towards perfection only helps man to enjoy life with joy, peace and satisfaction. In addition to that the main aspects of human nature such as the sense of goodness, beauty and truth are also fulfilled by way of culture and more than anything else the best thing to do in the world is to pass on such knowledge of culture to others generation after generation

Knowledge, Vision, Ambition and Achievement

In general getting knowledge through education, doing a suitable job to accrue wealth, enjoying the pleasures of life by indulging in entertainment after work and devoting retirement life in spiritual pursuits in order to satisfy spiritual needs are the usual or settled way of living for all the people.

But human nature is such that not satisfied with what man inherently has, tries for completion in life aspiring high due to his mind to break his limitations and achieves perfection in order to have a change in evolution. Just acquiring knowledge is not enough for one to become powerful to solve all problems of life and attain perfection and liberation.

Perfection, Permanence – Rare; Nature the only Compensation

By trial and error methods man learns and to satisfy his needs and curiosity he tries in all possible ways to explore mysteries of life to get experience and knowledge of truth which he shares with everyone.

To fulfill natural destiny, to achieve completion or perfection he seeks the hand of woman as his better half.

Though he gets home, wife and hundred relations the peace he longs for, the freedom he seeks and the immortality he dreams he hardly achieves. So, he tries his hand in arts such as music, paintings, sculpture, poetry, etc. to achieve perfection and permanence in the higher level.

Here also it is possible only by the gifted and the chosen few and for others the appreciation or criticism of the achievements of the gifted people only is possible. This is also not instantly possible without great efforts. So, only boredom remains finally. Therefore the physically and the visibly remaining thing left for men to explore is Nature only.

The beauty of nature absorbs one and all at anytime and gives the blessed mood which cannot be forgotten so easily.

Through the senses in nature it is possible to feel the presence of a living spirit in all fauna and flora including man. Indeed nature is the living scientific art that enlightens, elevates, energizes, inspires and gives ideas both creative and mystical. Hence there cannot be a better friend, philosopher and guide other than nature for man.

Utopian Dreams made Realities because of Literature

Yesterday’s dreams with the development of human knowledge in science and technology since 200 years have come true today and will come true tomorrow also.