Is a book forever? Or is a book becoming as transient and pliable as the digital revolution threatening the core of its memeing?
As a technology,
the book is like a hammer. That is to say, it is perfect: a tool
ideally suited to its task. Hammers can be tweaked and varied but will
never go obsolete. Even when builders pound nails by the thousand with
pneumatic nail guns, every household needs a hammer. Likewise, the
bicycle is alive and well.
It was invented in a world without
automobiles, and for speed and range it was quickly surpassed by
motorcycles and all kinds of powered scooters. But there is nothing
quaint about bicycles. They outsell cars.
Learning to read gives us a powerful mimetic role in society: We can
make decisions based on information, we can influence others with what
we know, we provide meaning in a complex world.