christmas_evey (christmas_evey) wrote,

Why I think it is important to study literature, especially Chinese literature. This is a little, not very well written personal essay, helping me to justify to myself why I might want to devote parts of myself to the study of Chinese literature...

My first point is that in modern society very few people are engaged in "essential" professions, and that what is considered "essential" is probably vastly greater than previous societies. Our society has evolved so that relatively few people are needed to do these professions. The people that do do these jobs are really heroes, but the point is that it is not being a slackarse not to engage in this type of work...

Second point, "useful" professions are defined in terms of what society will pay for. So engineering is generally considered a "useful" discipline. Economics, Chemistry these are "useful" disciplines. Arts is generally underappreciated, however I think it plays an important role in society and is just as real as something from the sciences, say computor science. All these engagements are about improving the society we live in, making it more comfortable..etc. The creatives arts, like Drama, film, writing, visual art, are also enriching society, and a society that values these things is much healthier, in my opinion, than one that doesn't. So Societies that value these things, also pay for people to go into professions that promote these things. (or should anyway).

So China is a country that has, in her recent history, had very morally perverse periods of wiping out these creative arts and is still recovering today. While the atmosphere has changed a lot, there is still a lot of geovernmental pressure of the arts, and it is a stifled industry (both the creation and study of the arts, for instance in Chinese Univerisities no one teaches or studies Nobel Prize Winner Gao XingJian although they may have read or heard of him, and what people write or film etc is resticted by guidelines restricting the subject matter). I think that in order to become a healthy functioning country, among other things, the Arts is one industry/ area that needs to be expanded, focused on, encouraged. Studying it is part of this. So you could say that in trying to study Chinese literature, I am trying to help in my own small way, Chinese writers have a voice and encourage the Arts industry in China. I think this is a worthwhile pursuit.

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