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Evolution and literature

September 20, 2013

Quite an interesting combination. What could literature have to do with our evolution? Well, it may be possible that because of literature we develop different views on society and people and are better capable of empathy, which enables us to function better as a society.

Library of Ashurbanipal / The Flood Tablet / T...

Library of Ashurbanipal / The Flood Tablet / The Gilgamesh Tablet

Great civilizations and liberation by writings

Every great civilization had writing and great works like the Epic of Gilgamesh, which were works of literature which had certain purposes. When people write literature, they usually want to bring a message to other people. This can be a political message or other kinds of messages, though they are messages which are of a certain importance. If a society

develops itself there will be problems at a certain point which also become individual, because there is a development of problems being collective and shared by the whole society to problems being individual.

Mostly when the biggest part of problems have been solved in society, those problems aren’t vanished and will still exist among individuals. Poverty for example is still present in the west, although regular people have a house and an income, there are also individuals who don’t have that, either because of bad luck or because of bad decisions. Those problems need to be adressed at a certain point and one way to do that is by using literature, a good example is how certain ex-criminals are using books to convince next generations of not making the same mistakes as them, like drugs dealers who explain to young people that it only brings disadvantages to use drugs. Those people can also use books, by writing a story to bring their story. Both fiction and non-fiction can work, but fiction is sometimes more effective, because it creates a certain blend between that what is reality and the things which aren’t part of our reality but just made-up by men. Maybe it’s the surprise element in them what attracts people, but also being in another world which is different from our daily lives is what is attractive in fiction. Anyway, this fiction is not only ment to bring people in other worlds but also has the purpose to guide our evolution to a different direction. Just look at how the writings of fiction from the 18th and 19th century have opened the way to much more liberal writing than what was expected in earlier times. Maybe this fiction was one of the important factors in bringing freedom in our western societies and making it possible that the evolution of morality came into a higher process. The aim of this process is mainly achieving happiness among people in order to make a society possible in which people can live in the best way, and when we know this we will realize that even the fiction which doesn’t have a purpose of bringing a message can contribute to our evolution, because they offer a way to deal with difficult situations by reading about (fictional) people who have to deal with similar situations or by escaping to a world which is different from your current situation.

Writings enable individualism

English: Coex Mall Book Store

English: Coex Mall Book Store 

Writings have even enables us to be individualistic. Due to capitalism we have as much possibilities as possible within our products, and this keeps evolving itself to more possibilities because of the freedom within capitalism. There will be books about as much subjects as possible because there are subjects in which enough people are interested to sell well, or subjects are very uncommon and because of this books of this subject can be sold for very high prices and used in universities and such.

Because of this people can withdraw themselves in books to find their answers, instead of asking other people they will just use a book to find their answer. A few decades ago that wasn’t possible, because there were maybe not enough books in your neighbourhood, but with the the coming of internet you can get whatever book you want and you just have to wait a few days or a few weeks in order to get it. Then you can read and without needing anyone you can get all the knowledge of the world which you want, without help of anyone. It’s just another development within our society which makes us more independant at one hand, but it can stop more flexible developments at the other hand. When books are used, people tend to rely on the books and not listen to ordinary people anymore because of the authority of certain books. Books however are just people talking but with their thoughts written down somewhere fixed where you can get them back. The authority of those people however is determined by other people who have an own experience thus can’t really give a good determination. You always need different people to judge if someone has a good knowledge about certain subjects, but if there is no concensus among people this can become extremely hard. Although science is very fixed in it’s theories in some aspects, even there you will find disagreement in certain subjects, if this exists in the scientific world this will be even bigger in other subjects like sociology.

Like I said, those books can improve our development, but relying too much on them can blind people by just using one certain book as their guide book for everything, without realizing that there exist actually a lot of different other perspectives within societies. There are fortunately developments in our society to bring more education and more well developed people which enables us to bring more open-mindedness and more evolution within the development of perspectives of individuals. This can be again accomplished by literature if we develop enough different perspectives by literature and maybe people will realize that too much individualism might be bad for our evolution, because it might break what is fundamental in a human life, which is being together.

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