Tag Archives: Society

Reading literature lessens stereotypes

“The benefits of reading literary fiction are many, ranging from making us morecomfortable with ambiguity to honing our ability to pick up on the emotional states of others. Newly published research adds yet another positive outcome to that list: It can make us at least a little less racist.”

“A research team from Washington and Lee University reports that, in an experiment, reading a snippet of a novel about a Muslim woman produced two welcome results. Readers were more likely to categorized people as mixed-race, rather than forcing them into specific racial categories. They were also less likely to associate angry faces with disliked outsider groups.”

“Recent research has found that when we observe perceived outsiders, our brains do less of the mental mirroring associated with empathy. As a result, we feel less connected to them than we do to members of our own tribe.”

“There is growing evidence that reading a story engages many of the same neural networks involved in empathy.”

“Perhaps narrative fiction can bridge this empathy gap,” the researchers, led by psychologist Dan Johnson, write in the journal Basic and Applied Social Psychology.”

More: http://www.psmag.com/navigation/books-and-culture/reading-literary-fiction-can-make-less-racist-76155/

From love of reading to a better you

“Love of reading is the key not only to further learning and knowledge, but also to a better and more fulfilled life with unlimited enjoyment and participation in the arts and culture.”

“We cannot begin to understand the world without reading books, newspapers and magazines. Reading teaches empathy in a way that the computer games which many […]  children play never can.”

“Earlier this year the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development, a rich countries’ think-tank, revealed that the strongest indicator of the future success of children was not which school they attended or whether their family was wealthy, but if they read for pleasure at the age of 15. Reading teaches children how to express themselves, to broaden their emotional horizons and to cope with difficult situations. It is not just about learning and widening their vocabulary and experiences, but also about understanding the human condition and the lives of others.”

Furthermore, “our skills, intelligence, the way we behave as citizens and the ability to think critically depend on reading”.

Source: timesofmalta.com

Read Novels before judging others

“In American legal discourse, empathy is often portrayed as less respectable than Satan. Judges are presented as elements in the vast economic machine. Their job is to keep the conveyor belt flowing and to dispose of human widgets who come out defective. For these functionaries to be aware of those standing before them as fellow human beings would be dangerous.”

Yet, “Reading [novels] makes a judge capable of projecting himself into the lives of others, lives that have nothing in common with his own, even lives in completely different eras or cultures. And this empathy, this ability to envision the practical consequences on one’s contemporaries of a law or a legal decision, seems to me a crucial quality in a judge.”

Therefore three cheers to Justice Stephen G. Breyer, who read Marcel Proust, and proclaimed the French author:

“the Shakespeare of the inner world,” “a writer who can give readers a sense of knowing the one thing it is completely impossible to know—what it is like to be another person.”

Source: theatlantic.com

Literature is the soul of society

“literature, and in a wider sense, the arts, is the soul of society. There is no doubt that hard science and research plays a vital role in our understanding of the world we live in, and in the improvement of the human lifespan and the quality of said life.”

… “within the pages of books lies the collective wisdom of our society. Even in the lightest of fiction, those throwaway airport books with throwaway plots, there is still truth to be found, be it in a particularly piercing observation of someone’s character, or the way death can define a life.”

“Literature inspires genius and creativity, and that, I believe, makes it worthy of being placed alongside the sciences and arts and given equal importance. That it is not is shortsighted, and an indictment of the current climate of world politics.”

From: stuff.co.nz

Literature has responsibilities

“Literature has the responsibility of showing the disease of the society to the society.”

“A writer imagines the pain and sufferings of others as his own and experiences them while writing.”

“Writings do not end just on paper.  Besides beauty, the writings should search for truth.  It is only when an author opens all his five senses, will he be able to touch the pain in the society.  Literature should revolutionize and awaken those who are in slumber.”

“An author should be able to keep his pain and sufferings aside and touch the pulse of the society by realizing his responsibility.”

More: daijiworld.com

On the woes that have befallen our country

On the “woes that have befallen our country on the social, legal, moral and even political arenas, and the role of literature in creating awareness and helping curb these evils and misdeeds”:

“That the eacher is the dispenser of morality in society is undisputed. Literature teachers are expected, through poetry, novels, short stories and oral literature, to inculcate positive morality into young minds. It is these youngsters that later grow into entrepreneurs, politicians, teachers and other members of society.”

Sadly, “We teachers no longer indulge learners in the journey of discovery of the intricacies of literature. Instead we take a short cut by relying on guide books and concentrating on the completion of the syllabus. The best the learners can do is to regurgitate what has been passed down to them. We are doing the nation a disservice.”

“I believe morality cannot be attained through legal restrictions but through the inculcation of moral consciousness in individuals, which leads to social responsibility.”

From: nation.co.ke

Literature and Society

“Arts and literature create and re-create the life of a society in many respects, making it full of aesthetic touches. Without literature, countries and societies are devoid of the driving spirit of a full and vibrant life and thinking. Art and literature help a society in its growth at different levels as a continuous process. This intellectual entity shapes an individual’s and a society’s meaningful approach towards life and its components. 

The literary community believes in peace and love, and is very sensitive to the events taking place in society hence they are the first ones to draw the real picture of events in their writings. Since they are born with the traits of truth, they have remained victims of oppression during every reign of dictatorship.”

More: http://paktribune.com/news/Literature-for-life-By-Mukhtar-258234.html

SpyWriter Jack King, the author of:
Agents of Change, WikiJustice, The Black Vault, and The Fifth Internationale.
A new Pope. A new Church. A new world:


Literature must have limits

“Creative writing is an ethical question; literature, politics and pedagogy. … literature is a part of cultural achievements of a society and both get affected by each other.”

“Culture and literature are interlinked; literature is an outcome of culture. It is of the society, for the society and by the society.”

“Literature is a sub system of a society. It is perpetuated by the society and in turn affects the society.”

Therefore, and contrary to oft repeated arguments that literature ought to mirror society’s ailments, a Professor of English at Delhi University argues that such literature must have limits, because:

“Every piece of literature is propaganda and is always written with some intention. However the freedom that a writer enjoys should not be absolute or is not absolute. It has certain limitations and those limitations need to be respected…

…as literature itself is an embodiment of the various values, traditions and culture of a particular society, civilization or a nation which it cherishes and holds in high-esteem for several generations.”

More: http://www.greaterkashmir.com/news/2013/Mar/19/-a-writer-s-freedom-is-not-absolute–57.asp

SpyWriter Jack King, the author of:
Agents of Change, WikiJustice, The Black Vault, and The Fifth Internationale.
A new Pope. A new Church. A new world:


Reading and social intelligence

“By the time we’re young adults, we’ve all intuited it to some degree: people who’re ardent readers of fiction seem to have the ability to engage with others in a manner that is completely lost on non-readers. A teenage boy-girl sibling combo might evidence a situation where the boy, whose extra-curricular life is dominated by sports, finds himself completely lost as he watches his fiction-loving sister routinely blend in with ease with both older contemporaries and adults at family gatherings, even having the occasional poignant conversation with a great-aunt or grandmother.”

Why is it? Glad you asked:

“fiction-reading leads to one being more empathising and socially intelligent… reading fiction develops in one the ability to construct a map of the thoughts and feelings that are occurring in the minds of other people. This is what developmental psychologists refer to as ‘theory of mind’.

When one identifies with the emotions that are materialising in another person, it is called empathy, one of the core aspects of emotional intelligence…

fiction – and in particular narrative – is an exercise in empathy. In reading narrative, we join ourselves emotionally with the protagonist, in a manner experiencing his or her emotions as they navigate through the struggles in their lives. The overarching importance is in the fact that we, the reader, get to view situations from the articulated points-of-view of others.

Additionally, we lend ourselves to situations we have never yet experienced, understand the ways of people completely peculiar to us, and thus begin to acquire familiarity with such novelties that we may later face in life; novelties we would otherwise be helpless to understand except through one awkward effort at a time, usually exposing us to great friction with the unfamiliar environment first.In other words, reading provides us with: “the ability to sensitise…to the emotions of other people, transcending the limits of our own experiences and perspective”.

More: http://tribune.com.pk/story/518680/because-novel-readers-are-more-socially-intelligent/

SpyWriter Jack King, the author of:
Agents of Change, WikiJustice, The Black Vault, and The Fifth Internationale.
Coming soon:


The Dirty “S” Word

The dirty S word is back, and gaining popularity. Young Americans (ages 18 -29) are growing disillusioned with the capitalist system post 2008 crash, and look more favorably upon… socialism. The ideas put forward by Karl Marx are back in mainstream. Listen to podcast: http://www.cbc.ca/thesundayedition/shows/2013/02/24/is-marxism-facing-a-rebirth/

The survey by Pew Research indicates shift in perception on social policies, despite decades long propaganda war of vilification:

“powerful and wealthy private interests and special interest groups have taken almost full control of most democracies, their money and influence increasingly dictating the political and social agendas for these nations, agendas beneficial to them alone.

All democratic governments to some extent, but again primarily the US, have essentially abandoned their responsibility as “managers” of their nations and societies, have lost the thread of “management for the people”, and instead have relegated their nations to a condition of “management for the benefit of private interests”. …

The management of these nations for the benefit of special interest groups has become so embedded that ‘socialism’, which is nothing more than a concern for the overall welfare of the nation and its people, has become a dirty word.

As evidence, most Americans are energetically, and sometimes almost violently, opposed to socialism though few appear to have any understanding of the term’s actual meaning.

Socialism – caring about the people of a nation and about their welfare, is equated in the American mind to a hateful dictatorship with no rights or freedoms – in fact, to the precise opposite of the term’s real meaning. Such is the power of propaganda.” From: http://www.spyghana.com/democracy-and-income-inequality-america-the-worlds-richest-banana-republic/