I came across this elogy to books, libraries and the written word by sheer chance, but if you have a little over 8 minutes to spare, click here to view the full transcript, of what to me, is a fascinating lecture.
This small, yet meaningful excerpt, is presented by the late Carl Sagan, American scientist and popular science writer and is taken from his award-winning 1980s television series “Cosmos: A Personal Voyage”.
I had thought to share the ‘Youtube’ link with you direct from this page, however, some of the ads that ‘Google’ are showing in a small banner at the bottom of the screen, are not always relevant, I have no control over them or their removal and I really don’t want the distraction of ads rolling across my post, so it’s best if you go take a look for yourself.
I would like to share just a couple of sentences from the clip, that I decided were the most thought provoking for me, see if you agree…..
“Books permit us to voyage through time, to tap the wisdom of our ancestors. The library connects us with the insights and knowledge, painfully extracted from nature, of the greatest minds that ever were, with the best teachers, drawn from the entire planet and from all of our history, to instruct us without tiring, and to inspire us to make our own contribution to the collective knowledge of the human species. Public libraries depend on voluntary contributions. I think the health of our civilization, the depth of our awareness about the underpinnings of our culture and our concern for the future can all be tested by how well we support our libraries.”
“Books are like seeds, they can lie dormant for centuries, but may also produce flowers in the most unpromising soil.”
“What an astonishing thing a book is. It’s a flat object made from a tree, with flexible parts called leaves, on which are imprinted lots of funny dark squiggles. But one glance at it and you are inside the mind of another person, maybe somebody dead for thousands of years. Across the millennia, an author is speaking clearly and silently inside your head, directly to you. Writing is perhaps the greatest of human inventions, binding together people who never knew each other, citizens of distant epochs. Books break the shackles of time, a book is proof that humans are capable of working magic.”