Friday, June 14, 2013
Why I don't read novels
I saw somewhere on the internet yesterday a list of reasons why reading is good for us. We love our lists! One of the reasons reading novels is beneficial is that it increases empathy, or so the list said.
When I try to read novels, what I ordinarily decide is that the author is working through something, a personal issue. In other words, it's hard to get involved because it feels like none of my business. I get that the author needed to write the book, but do I need to read it? I don't feel like I learn anything from novels. I would much rather read history or science books.
Less and less as I grow older am I interested in the psychology of people. I love to hear their stories, though not so I will understand them.
What I like about people is the energy around them, the patterns of their stories (as opposed to the content). I like seeing how people navigate their way through this crazy experience of life. Some people are incredibly original in approach. Others follow a script that seems to have been written several generations ago. I have no opinion about how life is lived as long as no animals are harmed in the process. Should say unduly harmed. Life is harmful, there are consequences to every twist and turn. The food chain is a bitch in terms of perceived harm. But we perhaps shouldn't go out of our way to harm others, yes? It's good to try not to.
I like the patterns, the energy, the way that energy feels when my energy interacts with it. Why people do what they do is not as interesting. I figure there's something lovely, also something really gnarly, about everyone. Do I need the details? I really don't. Does that mean I have no capacity for empathy? It could. I'm kind in general and tend to give people the benefit of the doubt. Isn't that good enough?
Hmmm. Maybe I do need to work on empathy. Do I? If so, must that learning come from novels? Hope not!