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Monday, August 30, 2010
What need have we for books?
In the face of an increasingly puissant electronic/digital technology what will be the fate of books? Word is out that the new Oxford Dictionary (the venerable OED) will not be physically printed, but only birthed into the bowels of the machine, and from there to be retrieved only virtually when needed. One can - still - encompass all the learning that is worth learning within the confines of a library made up of physical books. But for how long? What the future may hold in store for literature and knowledge is of no concern of mine ... (you may believe or disbelieve that as you will). In fact ... I think it possible that words will no longer be written - fashioned from the meat of the heart and mind; texts will be misconstrued and strewn about by committee; these corporate products will be constructed of contrived, soulless words, bereft of any literary style or merit - fashioned to suit the base needs of soulless machines, which will then fit neatly into the commercial schemata dictated by faceless corporate entities, that are fast taking over the world .... a schemata irrelevant to the heart, or the soul ... and certainly irrelevant to literature. In fact, one can encompass all the learning that need be known within the glance that passes between two loving souls - between a mother and nuzzling baby - between two lovers embraced in the wonder of life. So what need have we for books at all?