the life of richie


Posted in will be by Rich on March 29, 2009

In the future, there might not be books still: not as Richard knows books now (he knows this).

Like Farenheit 451, we might incinerate them all: paper can only be recycled so many times, he imagines, after all, before it is all pulped out. How can there be books if there might not even be trees still? Children might laugh at him, when he speaks of such things as trees. Children will ask, “These creatures with branches that changed color, you say they would guard the roadsides?” and he will smile, wearily, and say aye; once they were everywhere –– here and there. Like flocks of phoenixes, they would burst into flames once a year, and expire, and then be reborn in the springtime. We would make books of them: take them into our homes, place them on shelves to gather dust and might. The children will think him a mad old man to speak of such things as trees turning to phoenixes and these baa-ooo-ckks.

The tactile sensation of musty tomes will be memory, randomly accessed. In the future, we could just have books burned onto our brains –– no need to digest; like Ethiopian food, words will come pre-digested, bred to be digitized; uploaded into our mushy brain-boxes; purged before the next meal.

Then, everything will be RAM, then. The oral tradition that precipitated print might concede to electronic form. Richard has long not wanted to permit this, but sees that this sea change might be unstoppable. Alexandria rises from the ashes, sparkling, crackling. Books will kindle the coming Kindle and then be discarded. Already he longs for the days of the card catalogue: already the library’s former system is extinct. He remembers as a child, his fingers searching through the card catalogue, the wonderful touch of digits on fondled, parched, dirty-typed cardstock. Gives him chills. Pressed into the open stacks of books. A frisson of sentiment. But sentiment must be scanned; discarded. Here is progress. Here is the future of “print”. It is a ooh-ooh wikiworld, ever-editing itself into some new half-truth. Those who long for tradition will not be long for this new whirled. One must move forward or be left behind. Nostalgia smacks of rebellion; rebellion comes to resemble senenescence/senility. Tradition is treachery to the future; cannot be tolerated. Just go with the flow. And so we beat on, choked in the current thrashing forward, into the future.

In the future, when all’s well that ends, well –– !

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