If we lived in a world without literature, learning only the sciences,
would we be the same people? Does the human race need literature at all, does
it have any worth whatsoever except as entertainment? Do people actually learn
from literature? These are all questions that divide the human race into two
separate sections, those who believe in the power of literature, and those who
see it as impoverished compared to the social sciences in its ability to teach
us about ourselves. However we need not be so divided on this issue.
Literature is as rich a teacher as science, but merely differs in technique.
Literature offers knowledge to those that seek it, gives experience to those who
understand it, and pleasure to those that love it. Science on the other hand
imparts knowledge, leads to experience, and gives pleasure to the few who love
Literature is just as varied and expansive as Science is. There are
hundreds of styles, millions of authors, and thousands of languages which make
up literature. Instead of different fields, as in science, there are different
genres. Literature is often backed up by research or first hand information,
but can also be fanciful flights of the imagination. They are similar to the
research, observation, and hypothesis found in science. Experiments can be
performed in both. A scientist could ask what if, and logically and
scientifically follow his what if through. A writer could ask the same and use
his imagination, knowledge, and perhaps a little research, to guide his
imagination. Literature and Science are similar.
However they differ in some important respects. Science is an exact
realm of numbers and averages and measurements. The last time you read a
romance novel, were there charts showing the Freudian prediction of the average
persons love life? Literature does not have the same kind of exactitude that is
offered by Science. But it does offer precision in another... [continues]
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