Author's Diction~Vipin Behari Goyal: Fiction and Philosophy

Monday, September 2, 2013

Fiction and Philosophy

Philosophy of Fiction

E. M. Forster
Fiction without Philosophy is not literature. It is only a story which may not even have any moral. You don’t learn anything but you feel entertained. It could be a good time pass or a way to kill the time. Lying on a beach, travelling in a train or bus, we see lots of people doing it. Though instead they should prefer to how the breeze is playing with the waves of the sea, people surfing, vendors selling and clouds are drifting. Instead they read a story which a thriller, suspense, romantic or 50 shades, which takes your mind to ugly imagination and you overlook the beautiful realities spread before your eyes. I would prefer to lie still, close my eyes and listen to the fine music of nature. It may happen that my inward journey takes me to some deeper realm of my existence and I may find a magical pearl that may unfold some mystery of life.

Love stories have always remained a part of literature as love has remained an integral part of life. There are no two love stories that are similar as there are no two human beings who are exactly same. Everyone has a different perception and conditioning of mind to reflect differently from others. That makes every love story unique, so if a writer can identify that uniqueness and narrate as to what makes it unique, he could write a meaningful love story.

Love is an emotion just like many other emotions that we culture. I find hate is a more powerful emotion than love. Though both of these emotions make a person irrational, and finally a philosopher.

Other related Post

Philosophy of Caves in The Passage to India By E. M.Forster

 © Vipin Behari Goyal


  1. I think I would have to disagree with you. Just because a story doesn't have any philosophy doesn't mean you learn nothing from it. Also, you'd have to think of philosophy in a very narrow scope to make that statement. Thrillers or mysteries or suspense can also provide sustenance to the soul. To call them ugly is akin to saying that only certain things are beautiful. Literature is all about seeing the beauty in the ugly.

    Reading as a means of escapism is how fiction and literature originally evolved. In the bygone eras when people had limited means of entertainment, it was books that came to the rescue and offered a respite. By your definition, writers like Doyle or Agatha Christie or even our very own Satyajit Ray might be considered to propogate 'ugly imagination.' They did not start writing to impart philosophy or define good literature, they wrote to entertain and are hailed as classics because they transformed the minds of innumerable people over generations. They encouraged people to read and over the years, they trained people to see nuances. Fiction is supposed to be a means of escaping the world one inhabits and entering another, thereby providing a cushion for the mind to ponder numerous human interactions. It offers us the opportunity to live innumerable lives that we cannot live outside of our minds. It teaches us to look at things from different perspectives and to be less judgemental and more open to the world and its nuances.

    Literature, even at its very worst [and here, I refer to the trainwreck that is 50 shades] can offer its readers with a perspective – on life, on the psyche of the writer, of a culture and so much more. For all its crap, 50 shades transcends being a book and has become a cultural phenomena. For a book to influence lives the way it does, or any book does for that matter, is the purpose of reading.

    I understand and subscribe to your ideology of appreciating nature. But I have to admit, it's not an easy and do-able prospect and can be a lot of hard work for most people. Escaping this world by reading a thriller or by absorbing the stillness of nature are mere means of escaping. To call one inferior to the other feels incredibly short-sighted.

    I do however understand your stance on the kind of trash being published these days. While I do not enjoy them myself, I do understand that there are many kind of people who seek that enjoyment and fiction – of all kinds – has taught me tolerance.


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