Books

Recently I read some beautiful words by the scientist Carl Sagan, on books.


What an astonishing thing a book is. It’s a flat object made from a tree with flexible parts on which are imprinted lots of funny dark squiggles. But one glance at it and you’re inside the mind of another person, maybe somebody dead for thousands of years. Across the millennia, an author is speaking clearly and silently inside your head, directly to you. Writing is perhaps the greatest of human inventions, binding together people who never knew each other, citizens of distant epochs. Books break the shackles of time. A book is proof that humans are capable of working magic.

The great magic of book is realized with the concept of storing our thoughts. In human history, whenever any kind of storage has arisen, it has enabled the mankind to break through any natural barriers in that area. Food storage, for example, put an end to a hunter-gatherer lifestyle and paved way for artists, scientists, armies and kings. Thought storage through writing and books resulted into the scientific revolution and then transforming into an information revolution we are still witnessing.

What I particularly like about the book is not the information part. That can also be gained from videos on YouTube and in fact most young people do exactly that to investigate any subject (I will not criticize them or their method). I like the stillness and calmness part that comes with the book. Silently reading the pages with one input port only (the eyes) and feeling a slow pace of absorption really makes me going for long.

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