The Value of Literary Classics

Why do we value these books? They are thick and hard to get through, someone (a teacher) demands you read it.

And for what?

A grade?

What do you get out of it?

Why do it at all?

Three Quick ideas:

  1. I believe it brings you peace. Not like a good kind of peace either, the kind you get after a battle, except this battle is with yourself with your discipline to read something different, something difficult. Can you read a whole book? A book that is not like a sitcom or worse not like a video game? This book will ask something of you. It will ask you to think and solve and understand.
  2. It makes you more empathetic, which makes you understand people , which makes you infinitely closer to your fellow man. This leads to better decisions and these decisions will lead you to a better relationship. (I don’t know what relationship this is, it could be with yourself, a loved one or the world.)
  3. It brings you clarity. Clarity is what we really seek. It is what truly brings happiness. When you understand yourself, you are more ready to understand the world.

What kind of peace then? I have a friend who swims in classic novels, I think the thicker and more dense the better for him. (Sometimes, I need entertainment, trash, cliche.) He finds the world in the classics , he relates to the story and finds the big questions that he avoids. It inspires him to think big and he wants to do grow and do more when he completes the novel.

I love to listen to him ruminate on how much he hated the book to end. He actually misses the book not being in his life. The reason for that is it connected with his deepest feelings about the world and about life.

I find great value in the rhythm of well written prose, in the self exposed laughter and horror of what a well drawn character can do for you. I have a friend who loves the way she feels, after reading a deep book all day. And that is what the classics do for me. They make me a little tired, my brain a little sore and they make me learn, think and grow.

Empathy is weird. It is easy and fun to hate everyone. It is even fun to make fun and pretend to hate your family and your wife.

It is not fun to feel person’s pain, misgivings, their flaws and faults. Yet, it is satisfying when you see them as a mirror for your own pain and thoughts. When you can relate to the pain, then and only then can you heal. I am not talking about new age hippy healing. I am talking about confidence building pain that leads to action. These books build upon your life, build upon your experience because they to take on a big question.

Clarity is on my mind right now. It is in the forefront of my thoughts. I am at my best when I am clear. When I know what I want to do and where I am going. When I know what my girlfriend wants and where she is going. It gets even better when we are trodding along arm in arm and such.

Same goes for my company, for my community. Let’s be brilliant together, let’s move forward together.

 

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