I’ve been meaning to write about this for a while, and the Harry Potter post and the related comments made me think a lot about this.
Man seems to be obsessed with fiction and fantasy from time immemorial, testified by the mythologies and epics. Why is this so? This adherance to stories which we know are not really true? There can be many reasons. Entertainment can be a possible objective. Conveying morals is another possible one. Perhaps people felt that their own world was dull and monotonous, and to escape it they created an imaginary world according to their fantasy.
The literature I read till I reached tenth standard, was almost completely fiction, and fantasy. Enid Blyton introduced me to the world of English literature. Within a couple of years I had had enough of Blyton, and went on to the fast-moving action of the Hardy Boys. Then I had enough of that too, and that’s when I started reading classics – when I was in eighth standard. Then in eleventh, I started reading some non-fiction. Harimama, that unbelievable book you bought me, “Papillon” was one of the first non-fiction books I read. As I read more non-fiction books, I realized that they opened an avenue of thought and mental enrichment that I would never have accessed, had I been a perpetual reader of just fantasy. I don’t intend to say that only non-fiction is enriching. Not at all. Fiction and even fantasy(Lord of the Rings, for me), can be just as enriching. Fiction, which relates to the real world, can be enriching.
I put my own growth into perspective, so that I can illustrate the part played by the fiction and fantasy I’ve read. If reading them hadn’t enriched me, helped me to grow so that I can understand the world better, and become a better human being, it’d be pointless. I enjoyed Enid Blyton at that age, and it helped me learn English, but it would be pointless if I still kept reading it, saying that I am a great fan of Enid Blyton. That’s where I think there’s something wrong with the Harry Potter mania. People are just stuck up with that imaginary world, and adults are becoming childish to participate in the fanaticism.
I don’t think anything’s worth doing unless it enriches you. And as for entertainment, well, if you are doing something that enriches you, you really don’t need any other form of entertainment, because you are never bored.