On Being Useless and All

Charles Chu offers an interesting article on the value of reading even if fiction is “useless”. Sure stories are “useless” in a sense. They do not inform and perhaps they do not even educate.

So why do we read them?

Step one – accept that humans are not a strictly rational species.  We are instead creatures who live as parts of stories. And the connections we form to those stories are emotional. We cannot live without those emotional connections.

Step two – understand that our emotions can be educated.  It is called becoming civilized. Civilization is not a collection of buildings, trains, boats, planes, and pipes. Civilization is the tool we use to raise our stories to a higher level.

Step three – experience the civilizing effects of connecting to stories of others. How?`By reading them.

Any more questions?


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