Reading Chekhov for a few minutes makes you better at decoding what other people are feeling. But spending the same amount of time with a potboiler by Danielle Steel does not have the same effect.
Too good to be true? Or can literature really save the world? It’s an interesting piece of research, considering the claim made by Lutheran theologian Philip Hefner that a revitalisation of culture (i.e. what he calls our ‘myth-ritual-praxis’) is needed to enable us to find solutions for the ecological problems of Earth. I wonder whether research like this could also be applied to religious narratives – myths, parabels,… – to see what their effect on our psychology is. If literature helps us to connect with other people, would religious narratives (and/or rituals) than help us connect with our natural world, with our cosmos?
See on www.theage.com.au