Why do people read fiction? Interesting question, huh? I never really thought to ask it until I came upon a forum online where someone asked this…
“I don't understand human behavior. Why do people read and watch fiction books and dramas? It seems like a waste of time.”
|Am I wasting my time?|
As you can imagine, there was an out roar of replies, justifying reasons why we crazy humans “waste” our time with such insanity!!! Here’s what they had to say…
1. The capacity to imagine alternative, unrealized future possibilities --- which is essentially the capacity for abstraction and language -- is a key adaptation of the human species. Storytelling is as old as human society, and as essential to human evolution as walking upright.
2. Why do people create any form of art? (Painting, poetry, sculpture, music, photography, etc) It's been happening since the dawn of man. It's a way to express oneself creatively. And other people like exploring the product of that creativity, as a way to experience someone else's point of view.
3. Because they enjoy it? This seems very chatfiltery. (NOTE: Chatfiltery is purposefully posting something inflammatory for the sole purpose of getting a reaction.)
4. I once thought this way, too. Then I read some good sci-fi books. Contrary to your belief, it is possible (and quite enjoyable) to learn about the nuances of the human condition through fiction. Especially in that it provides perspectives that differ from your own.
5. What's wrong with people wanting to use their free time as they see fit, even if it's "wasting their time?" This discussion reminds me of my favorite quote from Dead Poets’ Society: "We don’t read and write poetry because it’s cute. We read and write poetry because we are members of the human race. And the human race is filled with passion. And medicine, law, business, engineering, these are noble pursuits and necessary to sustain life. But poetry, beauty, romance, love, these are what we stay alive for."
6. To travel paths that were unknown to me. To unlock new ides to me. To be told a story. To entertain myself. etc. etc. I'm curious why you feel reading fiction is a waste of time. Is watching a movie a waste of time? Playing an rpg? Or, do you feel everything a person does must be convertible to some sort of tangible profit? It's an odd premise, to my mind.
7. Just to play Devil's Advocate for a moment, aren't there enough incredible real-world stories out there, so as to make fiction kind of pointless? People are talking about understanding human behavior and motivation, but can't you also do that by, say, reading a historical biography? Or getting to know a friend better? I've got nothing against fiction, just curious as to how some of you would respond to that.
8. The "incredible real world stories out there" still get packaged into fictionalized accounts, to varying degrees, before being distributed for the public's consumption. Every story is a filtered account, whether or not it bears the "based on true events" sticker. I read fiction because I like it, and I value it as much as non-fiction because they are basically the same thing: people telling stories that contain some truth.
9. People do many, many things that may be considered by others to be a "waste of time". It really depends on what you consider "good use of time". Is "good use of time" defined as something that increases your production efficiency? I am not a robot on an automobile assembly line in Detroit, and as such, I do many things solely because doing so gives me pleasure. Reading and watching fictional creations gives me pleasure.
10. Why do some people cook fantastic meals, when the consumption of a prescribed food diet can easily provide the human body with all the nutrients it requires for proper operation? Why do some people have sex without the intent to procreate? Why do some people play sports, when a scientifically-crafted workout regimen would deliver better results in a more efficient manner? Why do some people converse when there is no crucial information that requires transfer? Because they like to.
And that was just the beginning. As you can see, many people reacted differently.
How would you react?
What would you say to this person?
Do you agree with any of the people above?
Would you add anything to their comments?
Original question and replies were found here… http://ask.metafilter.com/152798/Why-do-people-read-fiction. All names have been left out.