Is Original Content Dying in Literary Work

by HSG on Aug 08, 2012 in Articles from Software Fans

One of the most significant developments of mankind has been the art of writing. The earliest type of writing was in the form of graffiti and paintings on rocks and walls of caves. The first people who engaged in writing are reported to have been Sumerians and the Egyptians around 3500-3200 BC.[i] Early writing of this type was in the form of cuneiform and hieroglyphics. After that, writing emerged in different styles and form per the different societies and differences in expression.

Words are magical. They have preserved records of civilizations. They express desires and dreams and thoughts. But why write at all? What was or is the motive for writing? People write for different reasons. Some write because they have something to say; something to share with others, to inform. Others write to share their feelings.

George Orwell claimed there are four main reasons why people write as depicted below:

·         Sheer Egoism: According to this concept, people write because they want to be talked about; they want to reveal their cleverness. People who are motivated by sheer egoism desire to be counted among the top crust of humanity such as scientists, artists, politicians, lawyers and successful businessmen who are always putting their thoughts in print.

·         Aesthetic Enthusiasm: The second reason why people write is because they desire to share the beauty of the external world. They desire to share an experience which they feel is valuable and should not be missed. No book is really free from an element of aesthetic consideration.

·         Historical Impulse: The third reason for writing is because people desire to preserve a record for their posterity about how they have experiences things in their lifetime; and the facts they have gathered about the world.

·         Political Purpose: The fourth reason why individuals write is because they desire to push the world’s thinking in a certain direction. They want to alter other peoples' ideas of the kind of society that is appropriate for them. They introduce a society they should strive after. Once again, no book is genuinely free from political bias. According to Orwell, the very idea that art should have nothing to do with politics is itself a political attitude.[ii]

Whether Orwell’s interpretation of people’s motives for writing is exhaustive and relevant for modern writers remains to be seen. One can say that during Orwell's life, the perspective of most writers was one that relied upon the writer's experiences and that of her immediate community.  Such writings depicted lifestyles and thought processes in a natural setting to which the writer was accustomed. Technology and globalization have changed all that.

Life in most societies has lost its originality and its distinctiveness is slowly disappearing. According to Gavran, one of the consequences of globalization is a faceless and imitative literary art.[iii] Human beings are being indoctrinated in what have come to be known as universal artistic values. Authors have embraced these values and are writing to produce bestsellers for a heterogenic global audience to make money. This global commercial pressure has even permeated major world publishing houses who prefer churning out books that appeal to a general global audience; dwarfing out domestic publishers and writers who attempt to address specific issues with specific values for specific audiences. Editors and critics have a global audience in mind. Literary work is good only if it reflects general information which appeals to the general global audience. As a result, writers are no longer being themselves; they no longer express their authentic thoughts and feelings. They have sacrificed these variables for global appropriateness as well as filming and television industry appropriateness. Whereas originally the film and television industry used material from literature to make movies, now a reverse situation prevails in which literature has started imitating the film industry in order to be compliant and pliant to it so that it can be appropriate for television screening. The percentage of writers caught up in this web is not exactly known.

The Internet is another source of literature; a global source of information with global standards and values. While it is true that Internet technology provides people with access to large volumes of information coming from leading experts with complete bibliographies, it can also be a source of sales propaganda about rumors of every type of subject and topic. Alarmingly, the number of individuals seeking advice from the Internet continues to grow. For example, over 36.7% of Internet users seek to retrieve information about their health on the Internet.[iv] This information does not come with specific evaluation techniques since very few such sites are evaluated and there is no Internet quality filter in place so far. People have to evaluate the information based on individual judgment. One has to be Internet savvy to make a good judgment. But it requires cognitive skills to decipher what is presented on the Internet as either true or false and most people do not have those skills, says Indiana University academic, Bucy.[v]

References



[i]Carboni, G. (2006). The History of Writing. Retrieved July 12, 2012 from

http://www.funsci.com/fun3_en/writing/writing.htm

[ii] Orwell, G. (1947). Why I Write. Retrieved from http://www.resort.com/~prime8/Orwell/whywrite.html

[iii]Gavran, M. (2010). Original and Imitative Literature Today. Retrieved July 12, 2012 from http://www.heptagonpost.com/node/17

 

[iv]Environmental Education & Training Partnership (1999). Evaluating the Content of Websites. Retrieved July 12, 2012 from  http://eelink.net/eetap/evalwebsites.pdf

[v]CQ Press (2008). Internet Inaccuracy. Retrieved July 12, 2012 from http://www.cqpress.com/docs/CQ_Researcher_V18-27_Internet_Accuracy.pdf

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