June 22. What does Literature do?

So I live in a megalopolis again. I’m so behind with the writing I need to make long hours in fancy coffee houses here. It’s hard work to keep up with the poignancy. After repeating yourself a few times, reactions will be lame and “whatever”. It ages too fast. Writing that is not thought through but penned down in an an outburst of inspiration is either very soon forgotten or cult. So I read some earlier entries here in this body of text. There are no jades, don’t worry, you didn’t miss a thing. There were cumbersome reflections, laughable thoughts – not much to be fond of. But that’s a good thing! A purgatory. The composition of this “body” of text has lead – for me – to see more clearly what writing can do, which goals it can set for itself, and what it cannot do. It’s never omnipotent.
Literary writing can do essentially two things. One. To illustrate a certain state of mind with a narrative or a description. So the reader can place herself in the characters or the author should they coincide. The state of mind of a drunk, a soldier, a prostitute, a businessman, we can get some idea of it by reading about them. Two. Explain the transistion of a certain state of mind to another. Why does a person deviate from the path he was expected to take? A lot of writers have attempted this – with some of the most compelling world literature as a result. And non-essentially it can make the reader and the writer better persons – and don’t you dare to question the definition of ‘better’ at this point!
“There is a difference between truth and fiction”, the old man in Tom Tykwer’s ‘The International’, brilliantly played by Armin Müller-Stahl, says, “fiction is about making sense.” It’s a good movie; I saw it on the airplane from LA to Taipei, and since I have nothing else to write about, I recommend it here. A typical philosopher can’t swallow this kind of sentence without responding to it somehow. They make a fist so that their knuckles get all white and say things like “sense is essentially related to some notion of truth; in order to make sense, we have to organize our thoughts around this preconception.” Then they ‘elaborate some more’ on the subject and get all heated up by their own beautiful phrases. Laymen sit aside, mumbling “so true, so true”. I guess I am an a-typical philosopher.
The next sentence is dedicated to a very special reader: a computer! sbv2y5aier.
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Kamiel Choi

Dutch philosopher and poet, sometimes sharing thoughts on the internet.

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