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Monday, November 21, 2005

Human Foibles


I'm new to this place and not an entertainment entity-- but I wanted to address why literature captures my imagination.

I have been working my way through War and Peace by Tolstoy... simply a masterpiece of the human condition. Lots of times I heard people say before I read WAP that they were doing some kind of intellectual mountain climbing expedition in thinking about reading 1500 pages... or 1300 pages... or whatever...

But when I started this lovely masterpiece, I realized I didn't want it to end... such is the difference between someone who understands what Tolstoy did and someone who claims they are a "literary hero" for having read that book. What Tolstoy did was to create a work that reveals the human foibles of simple and complex people in 18th Century Russia. And then I finally realized by reading this masterpiece what makes great literature, it's the revelation of "human foibles" you will find in such great works.

Another great one is Steinbeck, who characterizes the wrestlings that humanity has with daily dilemmas of a cruel world and what it does to the common man... I would imagine that the really great entertainment pieces would address these dilemmas and human foibles as well...

Why does a person live? Merely to propagate a family? Perhaps, but in reality, ours is an existence of how humans address their weaknesses, fears, realities and how the human spirit overcomes them. What is the point of living if only to live and die? No, it is rather to think and suffer and rejoice and then die, and resolve all of our human foibles and issues in a hostile world...

That is what living is.

Our practical lives [work, money, family] are merely a backdrop for the revelation of how people resolve their foibles...

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