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Old 05-14-2009, 07:12 PM   #1
Barcey
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Are novels voyeurism into another's consciousness?

I've listed to this CBC Podcast (mp3) twice now and I'm still mentally digesting it. I found it very interesting.
http://podcast.cbc.ca/mp3/ideas_20090511_15300.mp3

One of the ideas that is puts forth is that we read novels because of curiosity into other peoples consciousness. We need to know if we think like everyone else.

The interviewer grew up in Somalia and mentioned that he moved to Canada when he was 14 and started reading novels to learn English. He was struck by how different the Western novels were compared to the arts that he grew up with and became captivated by the inner narratives.

I've thought that what we think of as our consciousness is developed after we have acquired language skills and are able to process and categorize our thoughts into structured memories and then develop our inner dialog. I've also thought that you never really know another language until you're able to think in that language.

There was another thread about if we read as a form of escapism and at times I think that is true but when I was listening to this podcast I think it hit closer to the truth. We read to experience a shared consciousness. One of my favourite books is For the Sake of All Living Things. I didn't enjoy this book because I wanted to escape into the Cambodian holocaust but the experience of reading it changed my outlook on life.

I'm interested in what others think on this.
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