Fiction - any answers?

Here’s a controversial statement: all things that live have to take the lives of others in order to thrive, survive, progenitise. A sapling tree tries to suffocate its neighbours thus to obtain more nutrient light and mineral, in this way becoming taller, stronger, more reproductive of itself. You and I do roughly the same in that we need, daily, to kill, (have killed on our behalf), all kinds of plants, eggs, animals. And for similar reasons.

The Celts understood this. They accepted the essential fact of life through death and were thus more comfortable with the whole idea of dog eat dog mortality than are we. Take a look at the gloriously inscribed zoomorphic border designs in the 8th century Lindisfarne Gospels. Bird eats bird eats bird eats … animal eats animal eats … etc. You get the picture.

So why is it that we twenty first century humans have become obsessed by the need seemingly at all costs to prolong (our) lives, in whatever weakly condition, and conversely by the need to kill in war those elements of our fellow Man we do not like, who do not like us? Who are, in short, not like us?

Witness the man in Oslo. Witness the men in Afghanistan and The Democratic Republic of Congo - and etcetera, and so on ad infinitum.

If you have any idea of answers to the two questions in the penultimate paragraph above you should be writing fiction because fiction (and religion alike) is based on them, on those questions and the underlying facts in my first paragraph. The stuff of life, of novels, is ‘pathos’; i.e. sadness, suffering, tragedy, misery. The opposite in fact of that yearned-for joy as promised to us at at birth and thus far undelivered. At least fiction written honestly can promulgate possible reasons, can try to explain. 

Fiction may even one day provide answers. The human imagination is in my view more likely to lead our way into the promised land than all the religion plus all the science in the history of this world.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Note: only a member of this blog may post a comment.