The greatest human achievement is fiction, and here’s why:
With fiction we escape worlds, we fall in love, we become part of families, of communities, of stories. We meet people like us or different, those who are more moral, those who hurt like we do, those that think those dark thoughts that we sometimes do as well, though we might not admit it. There are people in these worlds that are quieter, more confident or funnier than us. But at some level we are all the same.
Fiction takes us to places that we cannot dream of (not even if we try really, really hard), where we can do things we never thought we’d be able to do. And it doesn’t matter that we are not really doing those things.
Reading teaches us to live with ourselves and other people; it teaches us to share the world, to love the world and to explore the world.
It shows us how the world could, would or should be, even if we have lost all hope.
Stories leave us grieving, ecstatic, touched, shocked, loved, thoughtful, smiling, hopeful, comforted, scared, inspired. Some of these things might seem scary. But they are not scary because ever person in the history of human kind has felt them at some point, and reading tells us that we are not the first, nor the last, to feel such a way.
Reading is life itself, a polaroid of what it means to be us, to be human, alone (or so we think…) in this big, big universe. Let’s fill it with stories.
This post is part of a What Makes Us Human blogseries. You can read more here.