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Thursday, July 3, 2008

Things lost-

I was just poking around, looking at blogs. Today I was using Blogs of Note on the Dashboard here on Blogger. I came across and had a look. The most recent blog was relating to a lament by Ray Bradbury regarding a used book store that is being demolished to make way for a mall.

The blog caused me to contemplate things lost with the passage of time and the cost of change. I often wonder about what has been lost over time. History is just what is left. It is not always the best, it is not always particularly representative of the reality of the era. It is just what we have left.

I imagine that many eras had preservationists. However, the preservationists have the daunting task of selecting a few bits and pieces to preserve. It is their past they strive to save, not necessarily everyones past. Most of that past is lost.

Consider the 45 rpm record. The medium of a tiny era in American music. The A side contained a song that occasionally made the hit parade. The B side contained a song that soon vanished from the memory of all but a few. Of the hit songs, only a few now get much air time on oldies stations. Many B side tunes have essentially vanished from history.

I am confident that there are at least a few B side preservationists. However, the passion will probably die when they do. After that, there will be no resources allocated to preserve the B side music. Baring some phenominal discovery of these tunes sometime in the future, they will disappear forever.

Most of history is like that. It is not a particularly bad thing. How much of everything you have owned and touched do you really want to drag around with you for the rest of your days?

Back to the used book stores. Yes, they have an ambiance that is special, at least to bibliophiles. Yes, there is something special about that book discovery made after long browsing. Something old that is new to you, and purchased as a treasure. Even were the same book scanned and reformatted for the digital era, it would not be the same book. It is a REAL book from a REAL used book store.

Will all used book stores vanish from the face of the Earth? Perhaps. Would the loss be terrible? Yes, to those of us who will loose something we value. Something we love. Will some strive to preserve the used book store experience? Yes. However, when they die much will die with them.

The people who will people the future won't necessarily miss the used book store. It was never really part of their world. A taste of it may remain here in the Internet, just as something of the Internet today will remain in whatever replaces it. However, the true experience with all of its nuances will be gone.

There is a sadness in that. Fortunately, even that sadness is transient.

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