The following essay was written in response to the following quote:
"Literature is a form of permanent insurrection. It's mission is to arouse, to disturb, to alarm, to keep men in a constant state of dissatisfaction with themselves."
Mario Vargas Llosa
What is literature if not fire? What are writers if not the saviors of our society? And then what becomes of literature if not the writer’s searing weapon? Literature is that weapon, literature is that fire. Fire meant to light the way to progress, to be the basis for what is to come, fire to become what is to come! Fire to intrigue the mind to create, to shake free, to break the bonds of conformity holding it prisoner in its own ideals! Fire to burn, fire to destroy! Fire to destroy that which keeps the mighty giant on its knees and pinned to the ground! Fire to live, fire to heal, fire to be.
“Literature is a form of permanent resurrection.” Literature is the spokesperson of history. It is what prevents history from repeating its past mistakes. It immortalizes those mistakes, makes them an ever present reminder of what has been done, of what has been suffered. “Its mission is to arouse, to disturb, to alarm, to keep men in a constant state of dissatisfaction with themselves” Every time we read a poem, a satire, an essay, this is literature retelling what history has already witnessed, what men have already suffered. Each and every piece of literature ever written was meant to wake the mind, to make men conscious of their present state.
Literature, as fire, is meant to induce, to infect, to force men to see, truly see, what they are living, what they are doing. Literature is meant to enrage, to anger, to grab men by the face and force him to see the horrors of which he is the cause of. Literature is meant to burn, to sear, to carry its voice across the centuries, bringing tales of old to those who are new. To remind the now, that the then that once was must not become the then that will be! For if the burning fire of literature were ever extinguished, what would then serve as a reminder of that which brought men to be what they are now? Thus there must be fire! Fire that consumes the web of deceit into which we are born and reveals to us our imperfections! Fire that makes us constantly strive forward, because should we ever sit still, what would then be there to uncover our eyes to the truth that is our imperfection? Should men ever feel satisfied and at ease with themselves what else but literature would sound the trumpet and tremble the foundations of our satisfaction to alert us that we are still suffering, that we are still bleeding, that we are still oblivious to the pain coursing through our society? Thus, there must be fire.
Nonsense! Blasphemy! Surely our society is not blind to our degenerating disease of forgetfulness. Yet, once those who have lived have died, what will there be left to remind us of what they lived and did? What else but the words of Blake can bring back the pain of miserable children covered in grime and soot, walking the streets towards the houses of the rich and respectable, so they can climb back into that dark abyss called chimney? Nothing, therefore fire is forged, made, written. Fire like the fire in the words of the romantics, who sought escape from the pain and suffering of this rotting world. Fire from the hands of the great satirists such as Jonathan Swift, which calls the attention of those who are satisfied and at ease to look outside their doors to see the starving children dying outside. And what better fire than the one lit by Elie Wiesel, which gives us a horrid picture of what cruelty we are capable of administrating to each other? If literature had not given life to these remnants of chaos, what would there be to prevent us from repeating what should not have been done in the first place? Thus fire must be! Or where would the larger part of our population be? Where would women be were it not for the fire bred by Mary Wollenstonecraft, where would they be were it not because literature was there to resurrect the past injustices and keep other women in a state of dissatisfaction with themselves and with what they were? What about blacks? What about gays? Fire must be.
From the moment the first word was uttered, from the moment the first storyteller war born, from the moment the first word was written, men’s fate was sealed. That strange new form of communication that would be known as literature was to be the safe keeper of their future. That essence into which they poured their knowledge and gave it form was to be their new fire it was to be their safe guard against their past. And so fire was born! It mission to arouse, disturb and alarm all those which came into contact with it. This fire held the power to arouse, disturb and alarm the mind in order to induce a state of dissatisfaction that would lead to change and improvement. This shining new power had the ability to resurrect what was, so it should not be. There was fire! Fire that would make sure no one would suffer like the one before, that none should perish without trace…! And yet… men still suffer like before and some perish without a trace… But the fire still burns! Thrusting its power into hands that grow stronger and capable each day, soon the earth shall burn in glory and be ushered into an era of improvement. The giant set free is now free to create, to feel joy, to endure… While the immortal memories of what was, rejoice and glow in the burning cities! Fire to live, fire to heal, fire to be…