There is something about books, something wonderful, something mysterious. We have somehow symbolized reality by a miracle we call language. And one of the most precious and enduring form of language is the written word. Where did we ever think to denote our sounds with the lines and angles and curves we call letters. And where did we think to combine them endlessly into words, phrases a sentences, paragraphs, chapters, books, and libraries. Yet here you and I are now, mysteriously connected through this medium called language and the written word. Somehow these shapes on the screen symbolize reality and light up our mind.
There is an old saying, “Paper has perfect recall.” And thus, even as language and culture change, our books have held a kind of lasting memory of human thought and creativity. Even when living humans forget, books can remain on a shelf, only to be rediscovered many years later. People are forgetful, but paper has perfect recall.
Thank God the Jewish people and the early apostles and disciples carefully recorded what Jesus said and did, indeed, what God had done for thousands of years. Their paper and parchments have perfect recall and left us a careful accounting of what God said and did more lasting than mere human memory.
In this electronic age, I fear one day a terrible magnetic event or nuclear pulse will wipe clean the cyber space in which we currently write. I have sought to treasure what I write by making physical copies of it on CD and even printouts, for too frequently today, we write on what amounts to thin air. What of our electronic and virtual age will remain if (and when) that terrible magnetic event sweeps away most of what we generate today in the virtual (i.e. not quite real) word of cyber space (i.e. thin air)?? Much could well vanish if the event is global.
But our books may well remain. Yes, paper has perfect recall.
I thought of all this when seeing the video below. A young man sits writing and reading, quite enchanted. And suddenly a great storm sweeps everything away. Even the page he is looking at goes blank; all swept away in an instant.
In the aftermath of the storm he beholds a barren landscape, ruined and gray, all color gone.
But suddenly on the wind comes a beautiful woman, borne aloft by books, like so many balloons. She has vivid color and smiles and she tosses him a book. Yes, though most is gone, there are still the books.
And as he takes up the book, he regains his color and is led to a library of books. The world is once again enchanted, musical, colorful and creative. And he sets to preserving the books and dispensing them to sad souls, gray and dull, who come by the library. Taking the books, they regain their color.
Yes, there is just something about books. Paper has perfect recall. Be careful about converting too many things to electronic form. At least keep the important stuff physically etched to a CD-R or other physical format. The thrilling book One Second After details how our virtual world could collapse in an instant by way of a pulse bomb.
Enjoy this video which has a similar message, and reminds that books are wonderful things and that paper has perfect recall.