Books are without a doubt the greatest creation of mankind. They defy the sands of time to tell the world stories of monuments that fell, nations that perished and civilizations that were wiped out.
Books are an acute portrayal of man’s freedom of ideas, communication and offer perspective at a time where it is quite easy to get caught up in our fast- paced world. It offers the ability to slow down and to get in somebody else’s shoes
A research conducted by Jonatthan Gottschall , a professor of English at the Washington and Jefferson college consistently shows that fiction does mold us. The more deeply we are cast under a story’s spell, the more potent its influence. In fact, fiction seems to be more effective at changing beliefs than nonfiction, which is designed to persuade through argument and evidence. Studies show that when we read nonfiction, we read with our shields up. We are critical and skeptical. But when we are absorbed in a story, we drop our intellectual guard.
But perhaps the most impressive finding is just how fiction shapes us: mainly for the better, not for the worse. Fiction enhances our ability to understand other people; it promotes a deep morality that cuts across religious and political creeds.For example, Harriet Beecher Stowe’s “Uncle Tom’s Cabin” helped bring about the Civil War by convincing huge numbers of Americans that blacks are people, and that enslaving them is a mortal sin. On the other hand, the 1915 film “The Birth of a Nation” inflamed racist sentiments and helped resurrect an all but defunct KKK (Ku Klux Klan). Fiction is often treated like a mere frill in human life, if not something worse. But the emerging science of story suggests that fiction is good for more than kicks. By enhancing empathy, fiction also reduces social friction.
The fact that books have been uncannily endowed with the power to tie together multitudes of people to a common belief or idea is an irony compared to the unique individuality of the perceptions of the reader.
A book can offer insight into the reader’s past, present and future at the same time. They reflect much more than just the book-buying habits of their owner. Titles are easy to acquire and even easier to sell off or leave behind, so if it is worthy of someone’s shelf space, we’re curious to know why.
Sharing your book is like sharing a part of yourself – showcasing the building blocks that have crafted your knowledge, personality, and aspirations. Books can serve as a representation of a person’s ambitions, struggles, achievement and even his attitude towards life in general.
A single book donated from your anthology would thus represent a figment of yourself that you’d want someone else to explore. This is the essence of what we at TEDxNITTrichy have tried to achieve in our initiative “Novelties”. We have collected books from our soon-to-be alumni with the intention of conducting a book exchange with our audience during our event. It is an effort that is aimed at trying to pass on a fiber of their intellectual legacy to a completely unconnected group of people; taking baby steps in what could be an idea in the making.
While the internet has long valued the voyeurism in sharing and viewing photos of beautiful books as objects, one cannot simply overlook the individuality and ownership to these anonymous assortments of titles. So for those of you out there who want to be a part of this initiative, reach out to us at firstname.lastname@example.org and help us spread ideas one book at a time.
-Aditya Mishra and Swathi Dhamodaran