Technology is amazing. With a few keystrokes we can travel to places we have never been and learn about a new and wonderful country. We can research a term paper and keep in touch with family and friends around the world. As technology advances we gain so much for these new ideas.
We can hear music from around the world. We can get access to books the minute the become “published” and download them into wonderful square glowing screens immediately. But what is the trade off? What are we as a society giving up for these immediate pleasures. I can own any piece of music I desire, immediately. But is it really as good as experiencing it first hand. Can it compare to hearing it sung in an opera house perfectly designed to bring pitch, tone and the experience to life.? I don’t care how good your speakers are, it’s not the same as being there in person.
I believe this is the same for a book. A kindle is plastic brick with a square glowing screen with words on it. It smells like plastic. Foreign, sterile, lacking in anything that gives it personality and presence. A new book smells like fresh paper and glue. Fibers and ink coming together to paint a picture with words.
As the book ages, the book retains the spirit of the people who have owned it. It is more than words we pass down, it’s a part of ourselves. The feel of the page changes as each person who reads that book holds an individual page between their pointer and middle finger. Slowly sliding their hands along the page to the bottom and then turning it. You don’t just hold a book, you gently caresses each page as you enjoy the hidden adventure contained within. You can not do that with plastic and buttons.
In our rush to have everything now, we are losing ourselves. A continuation of tradition. You can’t pass down a kindle from one to another. You can’t lovingly package up a square glowing screen with a story that is now part of you because you have left yourself in the pages and send it off to a sibling or your child along with a hand written note expressing how much you care. Emails, IMs, Kindles and iPods are for RIGHT NOW. The hand written thank you note, a letter and books last the ages.
I often marvel, much of what we know about Americas early years are from the journals and diaries of ordinary people. They say that our blogs are the journals of today. But what a blog lacks is the true essence of the writer. The flowing handwriting, the emotion. Perhaps a tear or two where the ink has run. And on another page, a flower pressed into the journal that was given by a loved one. Paper, books, and all the things the stimulate our senses are being lost to digital means of communication.
Sight is not the only way a story is told. Our ears are not the only way music is heard. In our need for NOW, we are not slowing doing and truly FEELING life. To read a book is to feel it with your hands, smell with it your nose, hear the pages turning with your ears. To listen to music means to feel it in your skin, see the instrament with your eyes. We are losing half of what we are because we don’t have time to stop and smell the roses. We don’t smell them, or taste the scent with our mouth, or feel the softness of the petals. We dont hear the wind moving through them. We just buy some rose scented room spray, spritz it around a bit and run off to the next thing. We are missing so much.