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Are novelists instrumental in creating a humanitarian culture?

I found a great reason for writing in Steven Pinker’s The Better Angels of Our Nature.

“Today the historian Lynn Hunt, the philosopher Martha Nussbaum and the psychologists Raymond Mar and Keith Oakley, among others, have championed the reading of fiction as an empathy expander and a force of humanitarian progress…. Mar, Oatley, and their collaborators have shown that readers of fiction have higher scores on hr tests of empathy and social acumen, but that correlation doesn’t show whether reading fiction makes people more empathic or empathic people are more likely to read fiction.
“It would be surprising if fictional experiences didn’t have similar effects to real ones, because people often blur the two in their memories. And a few experiments do suggest that fiction can expand sympathy.  And in the hands of a skilled narrator, a fictitious victim can elicit even more sympathy than a real one. These experiments give us some reason to believe that the chronology of the Humanitarian Revolution, in which popular novels preceded historical reform, may not have been entirely coincidental: exercises in perspective-taking do help to expand people’s circle of sympathy.”
So we are the vanguards of civilization and pacifism.

How’s that for a reason to write?

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