Literature

Occasionally people ask me why I teach literature. At such times I tend to make a few statements about learning empathy, seeing others' lives, and so on -- and pretty soon my questioner is asleep with eyes wide open, nodding pretend comprehension. So here's another answer. Do you want to live the best life you're capable of? Do you want an exciting, richly fulfilling existence that will bring you joy? If you answered yes, then you're going to need to observe the lives of others and measure your views against theirs, learn from them, and make some decisions about how to be. You're going to need context, so you can stand outside your own life and see it more clearly. You'll need other people to talk with about this information. You'll end up stretching your mind. Good literature brings you all that, and more.