Search This Blog

Friday, October 21, 2011

Kindle Conundrum

A Kindle (or other E-book tablet) seems like a great idea. It can hold thousands of books, easily transportable, inexpensive downloading and instant gratification. No more piles of books cluttering up the area. What's not to love? I WANT one and will probably buy myself one for Christmas.

However, I think there is a dangerous dark side to the electronic book movement and the electronic photos that we rely on. Who takes a photograph from a negative and has prints made anymore? All of our current memories are digitized.

Our culture is being digitized. We live in an era where we are losing connection with our own history as a society and with the history of civilization. Schools no longer teach history. Facts, dates, relationships between events and how those long ago events have shaped our present. Not taught. Ask a child in elementary or even high school why we have Thanksgiving. Where did the holiday come from and why do we celebrate and I bet you will find that hardly any child can tell you about the history behind it. Sure they might be able to spout something about Pilgrims and Indians and how the eveeel white people destroyed the Indians yada yada yada , the politicized version, but the real history......not.

We live in a throw away society. We live in a society where technological advances are coming at us at a fast and furious pace. Things that just a few years ago seemed miraculous are now obsolete or quaint. Commodore Vic 20 anyone? Items that are broken are not repaired but are just thrown out, because after all, we can just buy the newest latest thing and it was old anyway.

History that our parents and grandparents have lived through is sometimes relayed in family stories. Personal stories of the Great Depression, World War I and World War II. If we don't have those family stories, we can go back to books and photos that were taken at the time. Photos and stories that show us the lives that people led. How they dressed, lived and what they thought about at the time. Without those books and photos and films we gradually lose contact with our own personal pasts and with what society was like.

We can go back even further and read literature and articles written during remote times and remote eras. The Crusades. Marco Polo explorations. The first people to meet with the Mayans. Even further back the Mayan's own writings. Our historical record consists of stone carvings, clay tablets, papyrus scrolls, velum books, handwritten and printed books. We have a tactile history. We can touch it and see it.

What would happen to our own current history when the digitized versions of our culture have been erased from the hard drives of the future, either on purpose or through some disaster. Our books, our photos, our writings all erased. Vanished in an electronic storm or at the push of a button.

Without 'real' books and hard copies, it may be in the future as if we never existed. Without historical records, history can be twisted to be anything that you want. History can be warped to benefit the latest government, the powers that be. We have always been at war with East Asia.

Pooof. Gone. Vanished.

Those who have not learned history are doomed to repeat it.

Keep your books.....they may come in handy even if the Kindle is convenient.....for now.

1 comment:

  1. Remember this the next time you hear someone diss a hipster. They're preserving our culture in beautiful analog form!