question of the day: Is fiction -- including the fiction we see in movies and on TV -- good for us?
Jonathan Gottschall at Boston.com explains “Why fiction is good for you”:
We spend huge chunks of our lives immersed in novels, films, TV shows, and other forms of fiction. Some see this as a positive thing, arguing that made-up stories cultivate our mental and moral development. But others have argued that fiction is mentally and ethically corrosive. It’s an ancient question: Does fiction build the morality of individuals and societies, or does it break it down?
The whole thing is worth a read, but that’s the gist of it. I like it because it backs up my own feeling about storytelling: that it’s the most human thing we do, and the one thing that distinguishes us from other animals, far more importantly than the use of tools. (I suspect that whales and perhaps dolphins may also tell stories to one another -- could whalesong be stories? -- and if we discover that that is the case, that may be the thing that forces us to decide that they are “people” more like us than like other animals.)
What do you think? Is fiction -- including the fiction we see in movies and on TV -- good for us? What other possible benefits could fiction give us beyond reinforcing common values and instilling a useful morality?
(If you have a suggestion for a QOTD, feel free to email me. Responses to this QOTD sent by email will be ignored; please post your responses here.)
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Mon May 14 12, 8:00AM
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by MaryAnn Johanson
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