Posted by honestpoet on June 18, 2008
Majutsu recently made a long post about the futility of fiction (as he understands it), and I disagreed with him insofar as literary fiction goes. (I pretty much agree with him regarding religious fictions, of course, though even they have their uses.) I’ve been involved in writing fiction myself these past few weeks, and in researching potential markets for the story I’ve finished, I came across this excellent article (scroll down to the “Editorial Prelude”). Here’s an excerpt I found particularly germane:
The fact that all human beings have imagination and are at least potentially capable of entering into the life of another person is what makes literature innately moral and ethical. One antidote to the sickeningly self-regarding culture that inundates us, then, is literature, or it should be. Literature opens minds, stimulates the empathic/sympathetic imagination by allowing readers to see the world through other eyes than their own. Just as a workout in a gym strengthens muscles, a workout with a poem or story strengthens the imagination.
As well, I wanted to include an excerpt from John Gardner’s The Art of Fiction which highlights another use of fiction:
Toward the close of a novel, the writer brings back — directly or in the form of the characters’ recollections — images, characters, events, and intellectual motifs encountered earlier. Unexpected connections begin to surface; hidden causes become plain; life becomes, however briefly and unstably, organized; the universe reveals itself, if only for the moment, as inexorably moral; the outcome of various characters’ actions is at last manifest; and we see the responsibility of free will.” [emphasis mine]
Thus the novel has its own metaphysic, which to me seems even more necessary now that traditional metaphysics are failing us. The truly artful novel balances the implication of science that we live in a deterministic universe where freedom is an illusion. It is not, and its practice, the practice of our free will to make moral choices, is more necessary than ever. Literary fiction, if embraced for this end, might just be the way out of the moral morass we find ourselves in on this planet where the old ideas, though going out kicking and screaming, are dying.
Posted in fiction, language, literature, morality, science | Tagged: determinism, fiction, free will, John Gardner, literature, Long Story, morality | 2 Comments »
Posted by honestpoet on June 9, 2008
Thanks to my dear friend Nan for this link to the American Association of University Women’s study showing that women, all things being equal, and even accounting for motherhood, etc., earn significantly less than their male counterparts. Still. And it starts within a year of graduating college.
I abhor the blatant sexism of Islam. But the insidious sexism practiced here in America isn’t much better. I think Sen. Clinton and her supporters could tell you something about it, as well. I know one woman, a bright, articulate hospital administrator, who is hopping mad about what she heard from folks during the campaign. She’s so mad about it she doesn’t think she’ll be able to support Obama, even though she’s been a lifelong Democrat (she’s got other issues with him, as well, and NOT that he’s a reptilian-human hybrid).
I recently read the excellent novel by Ursula K. LeGuin, Lavinia, which not only illuminates the causes and costs of war, but also what it feels like to be an intelligent female coping in the world of men, set in the time when Rome was but a backwater. Things haven’t changed all that much.
Posted in feminism, Islam, misogyny, sexism | Tagged: AAUW, Barrack Obama, Hillary Clinton, Islam, Lavinia, pay-gap, sex discrimination, sexism, Ursula K. LeGuin | 15 Comments »
Posted by honestpoet on June 5, 2008
Sigh. This is distressing. Here’s an article about what’s going on in Turkey. The government had moved to lift a ban on head-scarves in school, so that women who want to wear the religious emblem can do so, arguing that preventing them from wearing them to school was inhibiting some Muslim women from receiving educations (a valid argument). But the courts have struck it down.
Now, I’m a secularist. But you can’t exclude the religious from participating in public life. You can’t ban head-scarves any more than you can demand head-scarves. It’s about freedom, about unity in diversity.
Egads. I’m proud of the Turks for keeping religion out of government. But that can’t mean excluding the religious from participating in other aspects of life. It just means not legislating religiously motivated laws or establishing any state-sanctioned religion.
I fear this sort of thing will cause a backlash against secularism. I hope the Turkish secularists get their heads out of their butts and figure out what freedom means before that happens.
Posted in anti-establishment clause, freedom, monoculture, Muslims, politics, religion, secularism, separation of church and state | Tagged: head scarves, Islam, secularism, Turkey, Turkish Secularism | 2 Comments »