The enemy electronic

Yesterday I wrote a post in this blog asking for feedback, asking for requests as to what should appear in these posts…

Hank Broomfield, an old friend from my youth, (Yes, I had one!), wrote he was satisfied but being the visual guy he is he wanted pictures. (When I figure out how…)

Sumit Panigrahi, another old friend from this Swiss ´hood, now living in my Canadian homeland, suggested that I should cultivate/inculcate the habit of reading books and divert folks away from computer screens, TV, mobile gadgets and electronic books, that I should somehow convince them that bound books are more beneficial than electronic ones and that one should limit one´s use of electronics.

A difficult task, my friend Sumit, and perhaps best tackled by an example from a book itself…

“Since about that time, war had been literally continuous…but to trace out the history of the whole period, to say who was fighting whom at any given moment, would have been utterly impossible, since no written record, and no spoken word, ever made mention of any other alignment than the existing one…

If all records told the same tale – then the lie passed into history and became truth.

“Who controls the past,” ran the Party slogan, “controls the future: who controls the present controls the past.”

You could prove nothing.

There was never any evidence.

As soon as all the corrections which happened to be necessary…had been assembled and collated, the original copy was destroyed and the corrected copy placed on the files in its stead.

This process of continuous alternation was applied not only to newspapers, but to books, periodicals, pamphlets, posters, leaflets, films, soundtracks, cartoons, photographs – to every kind of literature or documentation which might conceivably hold any political or ideological significance.

Day by day and almost minute by minute the past was brought up to date.

In this way every prediction made by the Party could be shown by documentary evidence to have been correct.

Nor was there any item of news, or any expression of opinion, which conflicted with the needs of the moment, ever allowed to remain on record.

All history was a palimpsest, scraped clean and reinscribed exactly as often as was necessary.

In no case would it have been possible, once the deed was done, to prove any falsification had taken place…

No other copy existed to contradict it.

Books were recalled and rewritten again and again and were invariably reissued without any admission that any alteration had been made.”
(George Orwell, 1984)

It is far far easier to alter an electronic record than it is to go door to door burning books.(aka Ray Bradbury´s Fahrenheit 451)

A book does not need batteries or a power source.

A book, by its very reality, is far more comforting than a piece of electronica that is only as endurable as its escape from tampering.

But a hard copy once published and printed cannot be altered.

Why look out the window?
Why walk?

Because what is perceived from outside leaves far deeper an impression than anything captured by a screen.

It is as life itself is.

No electronic medium will ever enhance a person to the same degree as the sun upon one´s face, the wind through one´s hair, the perfume of a wild flower.

Electronics might make information gathering faster, but they will never make information gathering as meaningful as a bound book, a view from a window or a walk will.



One thought on “The enemy electronic

  1. Many many thanks Adam for your effort to write about books. I am highly pleased that you wrote this article. I am not against electronic media but I believe it has to be used in a limited way and I realize that paper books are much more livelier than electronic books and good for the eyes also.


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