Many people focus on the practical in life. There is nothing wrong with this and, indeed, it is rather important. It can often happen, however, that such people miss many positive things on the grounds that they seem, at first glance, impractical. Three of these important, seemingly impractical things include pleasure reading, an overactive imagination, and the liberal arts. Each is commonly derided by all too practical people. Each is vital to us all.
Here is a short list as to why:
1. To study literature, art, or the humanities is to view the world from another point of view, the first step to empathy and emotional intelligence. An all too important skill, says Yale University President Peter Salovey.
3. People who don’t read as a hobby are liable to be mocked by the late Bill Hicks.
4. The first Party approved sci-fi and fantasy convention in China occurred for a reason, to promote imagination for the sake of the future of China.
5. Those same promoters know that the tech companies aren’t filled with dull thinkers, they are filled with sci-fi readers.
6. Imagining, or reading about, other ways to live is the primary way to improve the world- and your own position in it.
7. Many of the greatest ideas in science began as daydreams, or odd thought experiments.
8. Have you tried having a conversation with an unimaginative person? The need for imagination is perhaps best demonstrated here.
9. The liberal arts may not guarantee employment, but they do help make life worth living.
11. If all everyone ever learned was reading, writing, and arithmetic, there would be precious little to read and write about.
12. There was a time before students of the humanities ran around telling people to read more often and imagine new things. We called it the Dark Ages and they were unpleasant.