The desire to make a lasting contribution to the accumulated works of the human race

Long title, short blog.

My most popular tweet by far (and still so, even though it was posted some time ago) is: ‘Would writers be content to have their entire works in ebook form if they knew the world was about to end?’ (Or something very close to that).  I’ve been surprised by this as it didn’t seem a particularly earth-shattering (sorry) tweet yet it has been ‘favorited’ a number of times and mostly by young people.

Perhaps the desire for permanency does burn within them more than we realise and maybe because the world of the young is filled with so much that is transitory.  It’s not surprising, however, that the prospect of the world’s end is more interesting to the young.  It appeals to their angst-ridden psyche.  In addition they tend to be lone thinkers and, as yet, have no dependents.  Like it or not, parents – the prospect of losing you doesn’t strike panic into their hearts.  That kind of dread comes only with parenthood itself.

Another tweet on the same theme, which I thought to be a better one, has largely been ignored; that being: ‘Perhaps knowledge is safest when written down on a piece of paper and stored in a fire-proof box.’ (Again – or words to that effect).  But my point, I think, is clear.  In embracing technology so willingly and speedily, are we at risk of losing forever the most valuable possession of the human race?

The desire of human beings to express their thoughts is so powerful, some are prepared to die to ensure they survive.  More terrible than their own physical destruction was the idea that their work would perish and be lost to present and future generations.  Lets hope then, in our giddy race to become entirely virtual, we don’t allow a tragic re-run of the destruction of the library of Alexandria.