Will literature prosper in an age of computer?
Yes, literature will prosper in the age of computers. The computer is the invention of science. Computer symbolizes the advancement of science. The primitive man was helpless and at the mercy of nature. He worshipped the forces of nature. The invention of the wheel and the discovery of fire were the two most important achievements of primitive man. With his intellect, man has proved his superiority over the other beings on earth.
The man traveled on the sea and discovered new lands. He also discovered that the earth is round and revolves around the sun. The laws of gravitation were discovered by man. Later, man discovered electricity, invented the telephone, Aeroplanes, trains, cars, buses became his mode of transportation. With the advancement of science man invented objects which eased his work, provided him physical comfort and recreation. With the help of science, man was able to conquer not only this earth but space also. With the successful landing on the moon, the distance between the earth and the other planets was considerably reduced.
Science is knowledge, systematic, and formulated knowledge. Man’s thirst for knowledge has enabled man to discover and invent the mysteries of the universe. The latest invention of science may be said, “Computer, internet, information technology.” The computer has revolutionized every sphere of our life. They are used in schools, colleges, hospitals, offices, factories, the transport and communication sector, banking, and finance.
Information technology is an integrated technology that integrates computers, magnetic storage media, television, telecommunication, industries, and various software to operate all these simultaneously. The interconnection of computers worldwide i.e. the internet has been revolutionizing the concept and conduct of business. The present age is totally an age of science. Science is as old as human civilization.
The man started growing his food and making his shelter, so the science of discoveries and inventions started. Science is a continuous process of progress. Science has given all the material comfort and physical comfort by lessening human labor. For food, for safety, for material comfort man depends and will depend solely on science. But science cannot give aesthetic pleasure and joy.
If we look at the history of human civilization we will see that science and poetry i.e. literature are progressing parallelly. In early times the progress of science for human comfort and food like intensive cultivation, the invention of the wheel and making carts and chariot for transportation and establishment of town and city was slow but steady. At that time man by his faculty of imagination began to create poetry to find mental comfort, pleasure, and joy.
The human mind has three faculties–thinking, willing, and feeling. Man is superior to all living beings because man can think, feel and express through the medium of language. Science advanced: poetry flourished. The famous romantic poet Wordsworth said, “Poetry is the spontaneous overflow of powerful feeling”-“Poetry is the image of nature.”
In India with the progress of the Aryan civilization science advanced and gave man physical comfort. At the same time man composed Vedic hymns and wrote epics like the Ramayana and the Mahabharata to get aesthetic pleasure. In Europe with the progress of civilization, the advancement of science gave man comfort and speed.
At the same time creation of epic poetry like Illiad and Odyssey. Aenid and Divina Comedia gave man aesthetic pleasure and joy. European civilization progressed with the rapid advancement of science. But poetry did not cease. The greatest scientist Sir Isaac Newton and the greatest dramatist Shakespeare are contemporary. Works of both are immemorable. One has enriched science by inventing theories of gravitation, theories of light, calculus, etc; while the other has enriched world literature by writing great tragedies like King Lear, Macbeth, Othello, and Hamlet. There is no conflict between science and literature. Science is the source of physical comfort and pleasure; poetry is the source of mental comfort and pleasure; poetry heightens the aesthetic sensibility and emotional culture.
The misuse of science and its inventions has brought the entire humankind to the verge of destruction. Deadly weapons produced by science such as machine guns, explosives, nuclear bombs, hydrogen bombs can destroy the whole of mankind. The world has seen the horror of two great wars in the first half of the twentieth century. Poetry only can bring peace to the tormented soul and mind of man. In the modern age, we have poets like Rabindra Nath Tagore and T.S.Eliot, whose poetry is the source of inspiration to live and let live, whose poetry gives solace in sorrow.
Upanishadic thought inspired Tagore to write beautiful poetry which will always infuse hope to live and enjoy this beautiful world. After the Second World War Europe was devastated and became almost a wasteland. T.S. Eliot came to India learned Sanskrit and drew inspiration from Vedas and Upanishads as to how a man can get peace of mind and can escape the horrors of war. He wrote the famous poems The Hollow Man and the Waste Land, the last line of which is Datta Dayadhvam. Damyatal./ Shantih shantih shantih.
So I conclude that literature prospered in the past, literature prospers in this modern age of computer and literature will prosper in future age also. Literature is indispensable. Literature has a great constructive role. Literature means, of course, good literature. “Poetry is the first and last of all knowledge; it is as immortal as the heart of man.” (Wordsworth)
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