The literary community often debates its relevance, debates whether reading/publishing/writing are dying. Are you surprised that writers can't agree that literature, that reading and writing ourselves and each other, is the essence of life? Of course, people do almost everything in life for metaphors. Not just writers, but all of us work, marry, live, and kill for metaphors.
It's always fascinated me that Islamic leaders issued a fatwa on an author of fiction, as opposed a writer of polemics or religious tracts. Though I've read many more articles announcing the irrelevance of fiction than its relevance, little was made of Rushdie's status as a mere novelist (as opposed to a theologian or politician, or writer of another form than novels.) That's because we know deeper down that fiction is relevant; people kill for Bibles and Korans. The Ayatollah realizes that the old metaphors cannot be supplanted except by new ones.
The new metaphors, topic of a future blog post.