Saturday, June 21, 2014

Standing at the library door

Standing at the library door, actually or electronically: the wonder, the power, the vastness of the view

When some people stand at the library door, whether it is shelves of books on paper or the internet, they can feel the power, the vastness of knowledge, experience and imagination.  For other people, it is just a door that leads to dullness and deathly stillness, where nothing ever happens.  When I stand in a large supermarket, I know I can't eat all the food inside but the fact that I could eat a little of any of the hundreds of products is exciting.  I know I can't read all the books in the library and I have never had the desire to.  Many times, I have found a book that I thought would be fun or exciting or satisfying, only to find it wasn't at all.

If I were more modest, I might assume that foods or books that didn't appeal were my fault, a sign of a deficiency in me.  Not finding something to my taste may well be due to an uneducated mind or a primitive palate but I like to remind myself that my days are dwindling (whether they are or not), there is no time to waste on self-torture and that there are many good alternatives for me to enjoy, even if I don't know what they are, yet.  I search, I test and every so often, I find something that elevates, energizes, expands me.

Two books by David Weinberger, "Everything is Miscellaneous" and "Too Big to Know" put some of the internet possibilities and new difficulties for our minds and society into perspective.  With good search engines like Google, we can find more of what we want and find it faster and more exactly.  But like the world itself, it is too big to fully know and comprehend.  In a way, that makes it even more fun and thrilling to stand at the library door.

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