The Threat of Knowledge

I have a feeling that this Cloud Cuckoo Land book is one that is going to stay with me for awhile. It feels very much like a book written by a lover of books and literature for lovers of books and literature. It is almost a love letter to books.

I am about of a third of the way into the book now and twice it has given me new things to think about. The first I wrote about last night and tonight I am going to write about that second instance which happened this morning. I wrote down the page number of the passage but don’t feel like looking it up now so I will give the gist of it. The main idea is that books themselves are miracles.

Think of what stories had to go through to reach us. First we have the oral tradition of storytelling and then those stories, if they are lucky, are written down. Eventually that writing will come across someone that is offended by it and that person will attempt to extinguish that story, and even if those stories never come across such a person that are other tragedies that can befall books. It wasn’t a group of offended WASPs that caused the fire in the library of Alexandria.

Books are hunted. They offend someone and get themselves burned. A raging horde of barbarians enter the city and need things that light easy to start big fires. A winter is colder than expected and it is warmth at night or the books. A monastery with the last copy of a certain book is struck by the Black Death before it can be copied and by the time anyone realizes what has happened damp and mold have put an end to that book.

It is a miracle that stories hundreds and thousands of years old have made it to modern man. It really, truly, is. It is one of those miracles no one realizes is a miracle until it is voiced. We are here and our stories are here and still they offend and are hunted by make be leave do gooders that wish to extinguish our stories and rob us and future generations of the joy they bring.

Books are the most dangerous endangered species on the planet. So many people live in constant fear of what could happen if the wrong book ended up in the wrong hands or the right book ended up in the right hands. A little bit of knowledge is a dangerous thing. Especially to those that wish to keep us from it.

Books are hunted. There is someone right now sifting through a list of books in a public school library looking to be offended so they can have an excuse to put a few more stories on the extinct list.

Humanity has been around long enough that we have probably lost more stories than we will ever know, and it is all because books are a dangerous thing that generation after generation have fought to destroy while others have fought to preserve.

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