I have been thinking about this post for a long time now. I wrote it, twice, neither of which seemed to strike true. When I say a long time, I mean months. See, I knew the post was coming. It is my 451st post on this here blog. 451 is a unique number.
Paper will combust at 451 degrees Fahrenheit, or there abouts, depending on many factors of course. It is also a novel, Fahrenheit 451, by Ray Bradbury. A novel, that if you have not read, you should. Its stunning in so many ways, a real brain opener.
Interestingly enough, silicon melts at 2577 degrees Fahrenheit. I dont believe there is novel with that title and if there was, it would probably be in Celsius, as in 1414 Celsius. I did not do any real research, but, there it is. Besides, the novel would only be available in digital format.
In the middle ages, Irish monks copied books by hand, and as we know, illuminated them with artwork that is astonishing. A lost art for sure, and can you imagine taking the time to copy most of the books residing in the isles of your local mini-mart? In my opinion, I think not. The way of the book is vanishing as well.
In the novel Fahrenheit 451, the firemen burn books. A frightening thought to a young teeneager, even to this day it is horrible to contemplate. So much knowledge, so much wonder. What a shame to even think about such a thing.
I read The Razor's Edge by W. Somerset Maugham in my teenage years as well. The movie version with Bill Murray has a very poignant scene of Larry, freezing to death on a mountain top in Tibet burning his precious books of enlightenment to keep warm. Deep I say, deep as the dark waters of the Marianas Trench. That is when he attained his enlightenment, tears freezing on his face as he let go of the world.
Now I love books. I love everything about them. The smell of an old library on a rainy summer afternoon is ambrosia to the soul. Once in awhile, I get a glimpse of my first library from grade school, just by a familiar smell. It is a touchstone to the world at large.
I also embrace the digital-verse. I love the web and the digital revolution. Knowledge expanding expotentially. I have not published anything via paper in a very long time, it is all via electron. The blog is proof of that as well and I love to blog.
The dawning of the digital age is a double edged sword. Just like books. Just like the papyrus scrolls, the stone tablets, the cave man painting on the walls. It is still early dawn, much is to come, many stumbles along the way are strewn across the path. It is here, and I am happy and sad.
It is the duality that interests me. Not a singularity, not a triality, but the dance of two points of view. It is two points, two being the magic number in most things. Plurality is messy at best and counterproductive to most things and frankly, very hard to follow.
This post is a duet between embracing the old and the new. The wonders of the past with the bright future. There is value in both. My fear is that people will forget or worse yet, devalue what has come before. To stride into that future without a backpack full of the past seems foolhardy. My other fear is I will lose my flexibility as I get older.
I am here, carrying the past, shading my eyes as I look into the future. Staying grounded when trying to fly is a trick not easily mastered. Duality. Much has changed, and will continue to do so. Thats ok too.
I don't feel bad about writing most of my stuff via the digital world. I really don't. But I also think, that someday, when I can, I will publish The Book in all media forms. Funny, if I ever get it to publishable status I could, hopefully, sell enough digitally. Have some one illuminate it, bound in leather and hand written on vellum. That would be dancing a duet along the razor's edge.
But for now, my ramblings and wanderings are here in the blog verse, available via electron. In the end, it leaves me pondering about it all.
The world is burning at 2577 degrees.