Since the dawn of man, the art of storytelling was utilized to pass on critically deemed information about society, life, and everything. During the early days, much of our history was transposed orally through song and spoken word.
Eventually, people started writing things down on scrolls and books. It made accurately passing down the information much more reliable. Finally, literature was born as more people piled onto the written works of humanity. It began taking shape in various form, Poetry, Epics, Novels and much more.
In many instances, literature is merely the reflection of society. It is the individualistic perspective of a series of events depicted by the author. Whether a philosophical point of view or a mere fabrication of the imagination, literature allows us to see humanity through the eyes of another person. It will enable us to objectively look at the ‘bigger picture’ and gain understanding about different perspectives.
Does Art Reflect Society or Does Society Reflect Art
Literature, like many art forms, is expressionism. It’s taking a thought and converting it into a tangible object that can be interpreted by others.
While many argue that literature is merely the mirror to society, there have been instances where it was the other way around. For example, the George Orwell novel 1984 spoke of a dystopian future governed by an authoritarian regime that created a singular narrative for society to follow.
33 years later, we find ourselves living in a community that is eerily similar to the premise of 1984. While some may argue that Mr. Orwell just created a fictional scenario based on past governments, one cannot eliminate the possibility that the novel itself also helped shape the society we live in today.
The interweaving nature of real life and art establishes what the premise of this essay suggests – a Mirror.
Literature is a reflection of society, and similarly, organization mirrors writing.
We are the stories we believe
To fully understand the premise of the essay, we need first to understand ‘our unique interpretation of reality.’ If you come to think about it, we are merely the construct of the stories we believe. Whether you are a religious person or a firm believer in science, the mechanism for our reasoning revolves around the ideas that govern our minds.
Your political preferences, your moral compass all based on stories that have been taught to you throughout your life either by your parents, teachers and the collective narrative of society itself.
Most of these narratives come from literature passed down through the generations of human existence. Research, being the mere reflection of our societal constructs, in turn, reshapes our perceptive filters and influences our reality.
When a narrative becomes a dominant belief, society establishes norms surrounding the story and influences individual behavior which in turn affects the literature produced.
This never-ending cycle will continue to feed into itself, shaping and reshaping society based on the self-reflecting nature of literature.
In other words, society will influence the literature we produce which in turn will consume by itself that will ultimately change the way society behaves. And the cycle continues.
Literature Provides the Big Picture
Whereas the individual lives on a linear timeline and is locked in the present, research provides us with a timeless perspective. It shows us the evolution of society through the works produced. We can see this with the different tasks created in different eras.
The work produced right after the enlightenment period steered away from the oligarchic paradigm and focused more on the individual. Over time, the complexities of our literature became more apparent.
The story started to reflect real life with much more precision. Things like conflict, dialogue, plot structure and so forth evolved alongside technologies, political ideologies, religious views and so forth. As time progresses, our means of reflecting society becomes more apparent.
Literature is a way for us to create fictional scenarios that allow our minds to contemplate the “Bigger Picture” of the human condition. It establishes a methodology to explore our perceptive filters and expands our awareness of our surroundings.
The Future of Literature
Over the past few years, we have seen significant innovation in the field of technology. One of the humanity’s most notable accomplishments was to create the internet. No longer is society restricted to a geographical location, but the world is becoming a singular society.
What happens in China can affect an individual living in Colombia; no longer is literature limited to a single region.
With millions of independent authors, thinkers, philosophers and so forth having the ability to produce literature at will and publish it for the entire world to see…society will undergo rapid transformation through the ‘sharing of ideas.’
About author: Joan Young is an aspiring journalist and copywriter with deep interest in sociology, inventions and technological progress. In a spare from traveling minute, she provides online tutoring sessions to international students and finds immense pleasure in witnessing their writing progress. Some of her insights can be found in her author’s column on AdvancedWriters.com blog. You can easily contact the author here.
Joan Young is an aspiring journalist and copywriter with deep interest in sociology, inventions and technological progress. In a spare from traveling minute, she provides online tutoring sessions to international students and finds immense pleasure in witnessing their writing progress.