Jostein Gaarder: Philosophy in Literature
Translated by Elisavet Kechagia
Are you a fan of literature, philosophy, or both? If you like both, then you have clicked the right article! Then again, if you like neither, or only one, you still made the right click since my master plan is to initiate you into both! But don’t worry, we will start off easy.
A few words on the writer
Jostein Gaarder was born in Norway. He studied Theology and took interest in Scandinavian languages. Like his parents before him, he became a teacher first and then a writer. He has written many novels, short stories and children’s books in which he tries to narrate through a child’s perspective, for it is ever curious and gazes about in wonder. That is how he integrates philosophy harmoniously in his work. He has also taken up environmental activism, founding the Sophie Prize in 1997.
Teachings of philosophy
“It is sad that the nature of man is thus made that they believe the wonderful gift of life be a mere habit”.
The older one gets, the more accustomed they grow to everything and the harder they get impressed by what actually matters. They take life for granted. That is the reason why Gaarder tries to write through the eyes of a child; to remind us of the beauty that surrounds us.
“A nation that neglects the education of women is like a man that exercises only his right hand”.
He holds the belief that every human has their very own, special place on Earth, and that we all have the same capabilities if given the opportunity to utilize them. Therefore, when a nation’s education is male oriented, half of the population is left uneducated and untapped.
“When both logic and experience fail, a gap is created that can only be filled by faith”.
The writer in question is a man who, from his early years, doubted many given facts and attempted to answer the eternal, burning questions of our race. His long quest led him to the importance of faith to man and its unique role in our lives, for without faith life would often be unbearable.
What’s in it for you?
I personally love books! Some books though have much more to offer than a few hours of tranquility and relaxation, and not only do they make the mind wander, but they also have a lot to teach. Gaarder however, will not tire you with the search of hidden messages; he has his own unique and direct way of conveying them through the events that unfold in his stories. He is particularly well known for his book titled Sophie’s World, in which he recalls the history of philosophical questions, having his much beloved Greece as a starting point, and all this covered in a shroud of mystery that keeps you on your toes! He is a master of awakening the mind and soul!
To conclude, do not be frightened by philosophy. It is not restricted to intellectuals and university professors alone; it is simply the expression of the human mind in thought.
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