A base da civilização
Kupferstich-Kabinett Dresden VIII
Jason Epstein, no The New York Review of Books, escreve que os e-books vieram para ficar e serão um facto importante na transmissão do conhecimento, mas o “livro tradicional” irá perdurar. Steve Wasserman, editor literário da Truthdig, escreve que a forma não será o importante; o livro, digital ou impresso, será sempre a base da nossa civilização:
[…] Golden ages always are to be found in the past, and nostalgia for the past is almost always evinced by those who find themselves no longer young. I, for one, am convinced that however the means of storytelling may change, books—or, to be more precise, long-form narratives—will continue to be written in order to deliver to readers the news that stays news. For there is no more useful framework for understanding the world we inhabit. It is through the work of novelists and poets that we understand how we imagine ourselves and contend with the often elusive forces—of which language itself is a foremost factor—that shape us as individuals and families, citizens and communities, and it is through our historians and scientists, journalists and essayists that we wrestle with how we have lived, how the present came to be, and what the future might bring.
Readers know that. They know in their bones something we forget at our peril: that without books—indeed, without literacy—the good society vanishes and barbarism triumphs. I shall never forget overhearing a decade ago, on the morning of the first day of the annual Los Angeles Times Festival of Books, a woman asking a policeman if he expected trouble. He looked at her with surprise and said, “Ma’am, books are like Kryptonite to gangs.” There was more wisdom in that one cop’s remark than in a thousand academic monographs on reforming the criminal justice system. What he knew, of course, is what all societies since time immemorial have known: If you want to reduce crime, teach your children to read. Civilization is built on a foundation of books.