Word Association #3

Word Association #3.

library . Go…

Trinity College Library, Dublin

Just saying the word library fills me with the romantic thrill of old world adventure.  The smell and feel of thousands of  friends and our escapades together as well as the promise of millions of new friends, new places and new lessons to learn.  The library is a sacred refuge, one that must be honored and respected, and if you do so, it will reward you with more wonder than you could possibly imagine.

Our written knowledge is part of what sets humanity apart.  The consciousness to actively record our history, our learning, our dreams and philosophies both baffles and amazes me.  To really consider how important that knowledge is, look to different periods in history and we can see what effect our books, or lack thereof have had.  

I always wonder exactly how much was lost when the burning of Alexandria happened in Cleopatra’s time.  Alexandria reportedly held one of the most, if not the most, expansive collections of the ancient world.  So much knowledge lost!  Who knows, maybe we wouldn’t have all of these ancient alien conspiracy theory shows, because we would understand the building of the pyramids and different ancient symbols and their meanings.  

If whoever built Stonehenge had a written surviving record, we might better understand that monument, as well as have a much greater handle on the history od Britain prior to the Romans.

Speaking of Romans, we would definitely have a more comprehensive history of the world in Roman times had there been more surviving writings by the different tribes and lands they conquered.  As it is, most of what we know is told by their own historians, and colored entirely by the Roman point of view.  History is always written by the victors, they say.  

Then you look at the Middle Ages and it can be argued that just has much harm can from controlling the distribution of the written word as having no written word at all.  Look at all of the advances in Arab medicine, philosophy and science that did not make it to the European world for centuries si ole because it was considered “heathen” and if an idea was not present in the Bible then it had no basis in fact.

Once knowledge and books were able to be freely shared, the advances in all areas of life were compounded a hundred-fold (thousand-fold?) in the following centuries.  Libraries are one of the most important institutions of human kind.


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