Language, Lifestyle, Literature – Words, Lives & Stories
Language and Literature opens a window to the wonderful world of human civilization. Mythology to history, social to politics, science to philosophy, culture to beliefs almost everything gets captured and covered by literature written in different languages. Plays of Shakespeare, poetry of Wordsworth, stories of O Henry, mythology of Mahabharata to epics of Homer…Literature as an art form that employs words to work its way into the hearts and minds of people.
The words are soaked and stirred with deep emotions of life and deeper feelings of joy to sorrow, fun to fear, despair to hope, anger to peace, fight to harmony of stories…everything is weaved in the fabric of literature.
The term “literature” is used to describe both the written and verbal materials. Though it encompasses all type of writing but it is the creative writing expressed in the form of stories, poetry, essays to novels both fiction and non-fiction represents the bulk of the work of literature.
Literature is a mirror to our society.
It shows us what happened during different stages of the development of our society. There is so much to learn from our past. There is so much to learn from our ancestors. There is so much to learn from different parts of the societies and at different time of the history.
Literature is a treasure trove of knowledge and wisdom.
It is stored in the layers of chapters of different books. One needs to venture into the world of books to explore and discovery the hidden facets of humanity. Nothing can match the enrichment we derive from reading. We learn from different set of voices and each author has a different experience to share, and present to us a new perspective. Literature expands our thoughts and broadens our mind, and widens our outlook towards the different facets of life and living.
Language is omnipresent and it gets manifested in myriad ways.
Listening to a song we connect with the words and the sounds that give energy to the connected words. Watching a movie, the script, we relate to the story around us, the actor and scene that makes us happy or provides a source of inspiration. Seeing a live play in a theater and feeling the surreal atmosphere, the play is plucked from the leaflets of such diverse trees of brilliant literature.
“Long before Language” came into existence we had the old forms of literature holding the humanity and society. Literature in its basic form is nothing but types of stories. The stories that was told and shared. There are those stories that were carved with signs and symbols on the rock surfaces. Literature is embodiment of everything that happens in our society. The traditions people followed, the culture and the customs they practiced, the belief system they were bonded to and to the values and norms that governed their working and living life in harmony. In other words literature is a manifestation of the life and the myriad lifestyle. It cultivates arrays of ideas, it communicates stories, it nurtures feelings, it generates inspiration and it empowers us to power our profound thoughts to transfer from one generation to another, then to the next, the saga continues…
Literature the actor, it acts as a witness to the process of human evolution. Literature the director, it provides the stimuli to set a revolution in the society.
This is not only a tool for revolution and merely recording the process of evolution but it is also an instrument for providing admiration and adoration. This spans across multiple spheres from religion to politics to philosophy to governance to art and science. Nothing is left out of the purview of literature. There are fictions and there is non-fiction. There is prose and there is poetry. There are songs and there are sonnets. There are dramas and there are ballads. There are verses and there are odes. Writer with the crafty use of words give the war of weapon a challenge.
A literary masterpiece changes the fate of a nation and society.
Throwing out an autocratic head or removing a dictator leader. Changing the norms and rules set in the society. Breaking the age-old practices to breaking into a new way of working. If we want to free a captured territory from the clutches of rebels. If we want to merge a divided country or a broken society. Or bringing back the lost glory…it is the language of literature that matters.
The “kaleidoscope of literature” vividly captures the action to drama, romance to mystery, and from satire to horror. In ancient Greece, literature was clearly placed in black and white…it was either tragedy or comedy.
The all-time great literary works goes with Hamlet by William Shakespeare, Lolita by Vladimir Nabokov, War and Peace by Leo Tolstoy, The Odyssey by Homer, Ulysses by James Joyce, Middlemarch by George Elliot, The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn by Mark Twain and The Stories of Anton Chekov.
The Bible remains the most sold book ever, and Harry Porter became the most popular and third most sold book. There is a diametrically opposite perspective captured in these two pieces of literature. Gutenberg Bible, also known as the 42 line Bible is the oldest recorded mechanically printed book. The Riga Veda of ancient Hinduism is the oldest religious book in the history. Don Quixote, the fictional narrative written in prose is considered as the first modern novel is about the tale of Spanish knight.
The moment we read life through the language of literature we start unraveling a whole new world derived out of historical reality, churned out of religious ideologies and plucked out of fictional imagination.
The world is a storehouse of stories.
There are so many fascinating characters in the narratives of life. Some are real, many are fictional. The stories are a magical world to deceptively escape from the drudgery of daily routines and the realms of harsh reality. The words act as lenses to capture different moments of our life. The moments are what matters, as it is the building block of memory and mind that measures its ways through those moments. Some good and some bad, and the cycle of the positive and negative continues. It gets captured in different shades and hues. Few are coloured and many remains colorless in life. We can hear the voice of the writer and then see the characters moving from one room to another in the chapters of book. Languages of literature are like time travelers.
There are archetypes.
There are stereotypes.
There are myths.
There is mythos.
The “power of language” and the power multiples when we learn multiple languages. Learning a language of different nation is not just about knowing the words, sentences, grammar and the pronunciation, this is just one aspect of the power of new language. The new language provides that magical window to peep into the culture and customs of that society. Language is not merely a medium of communication but it is a potent tool to galvanize our thinking and reorient our outlook towards life.
There is a paradox in the philosophy of language.
The power of language is to connect people and build a shared repository of language through those nuanced interactions. As the language has evolved and refined in its composition and position, people have got divided based on the knowledge and proficiency of a language. There are English speaking people speaking to people in vernacular language. There are disconnect. English evolved to become the business language. Speaking in English has become a status symbol. We all have our ways of living life and we term it as our lifestyle and what matters is the style that we maintain. It then defines our identity and reflects on our personality. The language and accent we speak, speaks so much about our personality. Speaking a local language and speaking a foreign language makes a difference in the way people look at us and label us.
Language and Lifestyle have been intrinsically intertwined and there is an underlying interplay of perspectives and we need to learn the craft of playing the game of managing both style and substance.
The words and the language we use make or break the art of communication.
The essence of good conversation is deeply embedded in nurturing effective communication. It is all about the art of learning the usage of language. The power of language is truly empowering. More language we know, the more better we are connected with a diverse communities and the society at large. After English, the language that majority of Americans speak is Spanish and it is also the second most spoken language in the world after Mandarin. It is the part of Indo-European family of language. Another interesting facet of Spanish language is that it is one of the most phonetic languages of the world. In other words if you know how to spell the world, you then know how to pronounce the word…sounds intriguing isn’t it. Language is such an important part of life, living a life without the usage of language is impossible to imagine.
According to Noam Chomsky, languages are dialects of one language and that language is human language.
Learning a new language makes us break away from the assumptions and prejudices that are deep-seated in our current language. After all language opens the door to different culture and traditions, and we develop newer perspectives to witness the world around us. Culture changes, language changes, and then eventually lifestyle changes. American culture, American English. British culture, British English. And there is Indian culture and we have the blended language of English in India.
Beyond the gamut of materialistic gains and the physical growth, the work we do and the family we love, we need to nurture our mind and nourish our soul.
It is the “Language and Literature” that matters in our style of living. The lifestyle is a way of living our life. It needs an intellectual stimulation, it needs a psychological bearing, and it needs a source for sustaining the meaningful engagement of mind with fleeting thoughts.
The mind perennially needs thoughts to be fed to get its feed for it to get going. It is the fuel. Idle mind is a devil’s workshop and merely feeding the mind with anything will not give us what we want. If it left idle or not fed with quality stuff, it will only throw out the garbage that was pumped.
Incorporating good stuff is a wonderful source of providing good inputs that eventually fetches us rich dividends. Speaking, Writing and Reading are all habits and once we cultivate those good habits, it literally grows on us and we gradually learn the very art of managing these collaborative habits of life and then living a life with substance and style.
In the essential analysis of words, lives and stories…it is the language of life that comes from the literature we read and the lifestyle we lead.
Nihar R Pradhan