The significance of literature and its influence and impression on mankind is undeniable. The existence of literature finds its origins right from the start of civilization. Literature shapes the ideals and moralistic ethics of people, which is the most basic human characteristic. On the foundation of strong ethics, the human personality is shaped. The whole human civilization rests solidly upon the foundation of strong ideals and ethics, upon which literature has a commanding influence.
When it comes to literature, the first thing that crosses our minds is books, of every kind. A book is probably the most important representative of literature among others, which has had a significant impact on human life and has changed the way people think over the course of time. There have been a lot of books that have successfully maneuvered human thoughts and have directed them towards a better life, a better world. We will take a look at five of such books that have changed the world.
1. The Bible – various authors (circa 30AD – 90AD)
The Bible is the collection of Holy Scriptures sacred to Christianity and Judaism. It is the most influential book that has changed the face of the world more than any other book. Only after two hundred years of its creation, it triggered the conversion of the whole of Roman Empire to Christianity from Paganism. From then, Christianity has become the largest religion in the world with around 2.1 billion adherents. The largest and the oldest of all the Christian groups is the Roman Catholic Church, which has a membership of around 1.05 billion, which equals the cumulative size of all the other Christian groups.
2. The Summa Theologica – by St. Thomas Aquinas
This book is in a multiple-versed format which precisely outlines the doctrines and beliefs of Christianity. The importance of this book is such that it has been used the most, after the Bible, for referential purpose at the Council of Trent. As the reforms of the Council of Trent were implemented, the influence of this book was felt. Even today, The Summa Theologica is used as the primary teaching means in Roman Catholic Seminaries.
3. The Rights of Man – by Thomas Paine
Thomas Paine was an influential English writer. He influenced democracy with his writings. Paine was such an influential figure that when he went to France during the French Revolution, he was immediately elected to the National Convention, despite of his negligence of the French language.
The Rights of man indicates strongly that the only purpose of government is to safeguard the undeniable rights of every human being. All the institutions which do not benefit a country are illegible.
4. Communist Manifesto – by Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels
Karl Marx and Freidrich Engels were two of the most influential figures of communism. They have contributed to the theory of communism to such an extent that this movement has taken a shape of a revolution and has attracted a sizeable portion of the mass to adhere to its policies. This tract, which was written by Marx and Engels at the command of the Communist League, is one of the most influential ones in the history of politics. It talked about a course of action which would empower the proletarian (working class) to eliminate the dominance of the bourgeois (ruling class) to establish a classless society. This book was truly an emphatic creation which brought about a social change with the set of principles laid down by Marx and Engels.
5. Either/Or – by Søren Kierkegaard
Either/Or portrays two points of view of life, one is the hedonistic perspective, and the other is based on ethical responsibility and duties. It has been written and represented by fictional pseudonyms. This book has been highly influential in determining existentialism.
These were the 5 books we felt changed the world.