E-books are no books

“I’m sorry to have to tell you that books are now considered an endangered species. By books, I also mean the conditions of reading that make possible literature and its soul effects. Soon, we are told, we will call up on “bookscreens” any “text” on demand, and will be able to change its appearance, ask questions of it, “interact” with it. When books become “texts” that we “interact” with according to criteria of utility, the written word will have become simply another aspect of our advertising-driven televisual reality. This is the glorious future being created, and promised to us, as something more “democratic”. Of course, it means nothing less then the death of inwardness – and of the book. This time around, there will be no need for a great conflagration. The barbarians don’t have to burn the books. The tiger is in the library. “

-Susan Sontag, Where the Stress Falls via The floating library

E-books are supposed to replace paper books in the end ,mere book-screens which will bring any book on demand,as also give you the ability to speak to portions of it ,i.e. They will enable you to potentially break the silence of the words.Words which have lain quiet in the pages of the book for years will now be forced to speak,reply to your answers, recant if necessary on what they have already said while in the burial mode. The authors words have lost their final say.What they say will be subject to newer interpretations ,available not in the reader’s unspoken minds but right there on the screen, to be reinforced and revised as more readers apply their minds to it.

Will the paper books remain ? Looks like they will. There will always be some who prefer the last word as from the author.Wouldn’t one sometimes like the monotone of an author’s drone? And then what happens to the barbarians? Where will they go to burn? Well , they can now burn life-sized effigies of the authors in the city squares.


One step at a time

If it is very warm ,what will you do?
I sit near the air-conditioner.
If it is still warm, what will you do?
I shall switch on the air-conditioner.

Wonder if this is a mere joke or it is fairly illustrative of a structured thinking,which leads the mind though a carefully constructed logical sequence proceeding , one step at a time.If one has to achieve a “jump” in the steps,i.e.skipping the intermediate step ,one must have the freedom in the mind derived from an intellectual exercise usually possible in a thinking mode freed from structures.

The mind must have the capacity to judge the inconsequentialness of the intermediate step and take steps in advance to get on to the significant next step,a cognitive skill the lack or inadequacy of which produces hilarious outcomes such as the one in the above dialogue.


Skimming seems to be the problem of internet reading for most of us. Depth is not what we are looking into but rather the width and the range of reading.I hardly read much,except around 10% or so as I begin to read .I guess the remaining 90% and make it all up so well in the mind,so that at the end of the day I belch in complete belly-satisfaction! Because reading only stokes the fires of my imagination ,forcing me to make up for what should be the thinking of the writer in the balance part of the writing.

If this is what is skimming in the context of the present day internet reading, it cannot be true that we skim in order to overcome the problem of plenty,the abundance of reading availability. It is merely that we skim in order to fill in our minds most of what other people write with our own stuff.

Needs elaboration ? The next time.

(From my Ohlife journal)

The past is not dead

It is a mistake to think that the past is dead. Nothing that has ever happened is quite without influence at this moment. The present is merely the past rolled up and concentrated in this second of time. You, too, are your past; often your face is your autobiography; you are what you are because of what you have been; because of your heredity stretching back into forgotten generations; because of every element of environment that has affected you, every man or woman that has met you, every book that you have read, every experience that you have had; all these are accumulated in your memory, your body, your character, your soul. So with a city, a country, and a race; it is its past, and cannot be understood without it. Perhaps the cause of our contemporary pessimism is our tendency to view history as a turbulent stream of conflicts – between individuals in economic life, between groups in politics, between creeds in religion, between states in war. This is the more dramatic side of history; it captures the eye of the historian and the interest of the reader. But if we turn from that Mississippi of strife, hot with hate and dark with blood, to look upon the banks of the stream, we find quieter but more inspiring scenes: women rearing children, men building homes, peasants drawing food from the soil, artisans making the conveniences of life, statesmen sometimes organizing peace instead of war, teachers forming savages into citizens, musicians taming our hearts with harmony and rhythm, scientists patiently accumulating knowledge, philosophers groping for truth, saints suggesting the wisdom of love. History has been too often a picture of the bloody stream. The history of civilization is a record of what happened on the banks.” – Will Durant

An interesting quote. The past is never dead,but only rolled into the present. When you are dead you do not become the past but infuse the present with your absence, your past . An idea once born,will never die and you are this idea that becomes a part of the past rolled into the present and you are always there.