Alaa Al Aswany on the Human Element (in Literature and Life)
al Aswany: I think literature means the approach of these values, because in any literature you have two elements. You have the local element in which the writer is using his own experience, daily experience about his own society, his own people, but this local element is not the most important. The most important element is the human element. It’s for the text, literary text, to be able to introduce, to present a human vision of life. And because of this human vision, the text could be readable, understandable and appreciated everywhere. For example, we were talking about the 19th century masters of literature in Russia, like Fyodor Dostoevsky and Anton Chekhov, they described the 19th century Russian society. This is the local element which doesn’t exist anymore, you see. But because they were great writers, the human component, the human element in their work is still valid. I mean, you read Chekhov or Dostoevsky and you find characters that they are very similar to people you know here, you see? And after 100 or  years, because the human element will give the real power for a literary text to last, and that’s exactly what they tried to do.
How a writer captures the human element will determine how long a piece of literature will last.
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The Oxfam report prompted Anand Giridharadas to tweet: "Don't be Pinkered into everything's-getting-better complacency."
- A new report by Oxfam argues that wealth inequality is causing poverty and misery around the world.
- In the last year, the world's billionaires saw their wealth increase by 12%, while the poorest 3.8 billion people on the planet lost 11% of their wealth.
- The report prompted Anand Giridharadas to tweet: "Don't be Pinkered into everything's-getting-better complacency." We explain what Steven Pinker's got to do with it.
Moans, groans, and gripes release stress hormones in the brain.
Could you give up complaining for a whole month? That's the crux of this interesting piece by Jessica Hullinger over at Fast Company. Hullinger explores the reasons why humans are so predisposed to griping and why, despite these predispositions, we should all try to complain less. As for no complaining for a month, that was the goal for people enrolled in the Complaint Restraint project.
Participants sought to go the entirety of February without so much as a moan, groan, or bellyache.
- Facebook and Google began as companies with supposedly noble purposes.
- Creating a more connected world and indexing the world's information: what could be better than that?
- But pressure to return value to shareholders came at the expense of their own users.
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