Thursday, March 29, 2012


The Encyclopedia Britannica,
Then and Now

  The end of an era, but not very much fanfare.  Saying goodbye to the final printing of this, perhaps the last reference book to take the fatal fall to modern technology.  Above left is a picture of the first ever Encyclopedia Britannica, 3 volumes printed in the year of our Lord 1768.  Above right is a picture of the last printed version of the same reference collection, 32 volumes containing 44 million words.  Never again will those words or pictures grace the pages in book form.  It's sad, really.  Shouldn't there be a funeral or something?  Where will those folks who turned to encyclopedias for reference going to get their closure?  From this point forward, documentation of all the world's epic events, will be in a digital format.  In itself, the demise of reference books is an epic event, that should be remembered, somehow, but how?  Digitally, that's how.
  Have we ever stopped to wonder, if even for a moment where this new technology is leading the human race?  Kindles, Nooks and a host of other electronic books are available, and becoming widely used by the thousands with every passing day.  The ability to download books from that eerily secret digital library moving through the air-waves.  Here is a question, when one downloads "The Adventures of Tom Sawyer and Huckleberry Finn", are they downloading the original version, or a digitally edited, politically correct version.  I do not own a Kindle or Nook, but I'm guessing that if you download it on your e-book device, it will not come in it's original language story as written by Mark Twain.  Will there be a tar-baby, an Uncle Remus?  I doubt it.  If you're like me, you've already socked away original versions of Mark Twain's classics.  Even the new ones in print have been molested by the P.C. crowd.
  Once again, where are we as a human race, going with this technology?  I attend a Baptist church, yep, that's right a clinging to my Bible and my guns kind of crowd.  I have noticed however, all around me in the rows of pews, there are less and less printed Bibles, and more and more e-Bibles.  Okay, they're not near as cumbersome as a large print printed Bible, they're small, compact and light weight.  It even shows a page turning when you run your finger across the bottom, and some will even give you the synthesized sound of an actual paper page turning, sweet, huh?  I'm going to guess that in about 5 years, you will be very hard pressed to find a printed Bible in a house of worship.  The entire congregation will staring into a little electronic LCD book, while the preacher reads from his own personal Kindle or Nook.  But, what about 10 or 15 years from now?  Did it ever occur to anyone that digital books can and have been, and will be digitally altered.  In 15 years from now, without a printed Bible, will anyone question the context or the contents of their digital electronic Bible?  Or, will they just take it as well... Gospel?  Will the Christians even notice the omission of Lev. 18:22, or Lev. 20:13.  Will verses from Corinthians like 1Cor. 6:9-10, or maybe Rom.1: 26-28 be altered or removed completely?  You can bet that the Progressive/Liberal governments will be picking and choosing what will be in the e-Bibles.  The question is, will your children recognize the omissions and alterations, will they have a printed version to make the cross reference? 
  I may be pushing the envelope here, going out on the limb, as it were, but this is what I see for the future of mankind.  In 15 years, most if not all the libraries will be totally devoid of printed books.  There will be kiosks upon kiosks of computer generated e-book machines.  I see the far left of every country deciding that there is no longer a use for printed matter of any kind, including books.  Of course all printing will cease, due to the environmental movement to save the trees, there-by saving the planet.  All the books that are chosen will be digitally transformed for your reading pleasure.  They won't all be available however, only the chosen books will be digitally remade.  Any controversial books will be eliminated as if they never existed.  Mark Twain's classics will be unrecognizable to any of us left, who have actually read the original version.  The Holy Bible will have been so distorted by the left, that it also will bear no resemblance to the printed word of God we have today.  
  This is just the beginning of the end my friends.  Things will go down hill from here, but the slide will be so diabolically gradual, it will hardly be noticed, sort of like the demise of the printed version of Britannica.  No long good-byes, no memorials, and eventually no record of the past.  It is intended that Britannica will continue to be published online, as the Bible, and numerous other books of note, but how will we know that the truth is online, where will we make cross references?  The only truth that humans will know, is the truth that will be electronically imparted and implanted to their brains by whoever decides what the truth is to be at the time.
  With the invention of the computer, I suppose that the loss and eradication of the printed word should come as no surprise.  Books aren't the only tangibles falling by the wayside, we have digital money now, and soon currency you can hold in you hand will certainly be a thing of the past.  Time marches on...
  Allow me to nudge your imagination, just a bit.  Close you eyes, go back to a time when books were the only source of reference and entertainment, (pretend if you must).  Run your hands over the embossed cover, over the spine, raise it to your nose, smell the pages and the old ink.  mmmmmmmm, is it an old turn of the century book, maybe older?  Does it smell like years of use, sort of musty, with still a hint of the old ink.  Can you feel the sensitivities of the author as he tells the story?  Your book has many hearts you know, it first has the heart of the writer, then the heart of the hand set type-set from the printers table, the heart of the final proof reader, who has checked to make sure of the spellings and the grammar, the person who makes sure that when you read this book, there will be no obvious grammatical errors.  It has the heart of the book binder, who painstakingly bound all the pages, glued the spine so that every page will be in it's proper place, and will turn crisply from page one to the 'THE END'.  When you're finished reading a printed book, you take away with you the hearts and the emotions and sensibilities of all who contributed to it, and forever you'll share their contributions in your heart of hearts.  
  Now pick up your Kindle, your Nook, where's the warmth, can you feel the heart, can you smell the pages?  I'm afraid not, a true shame.  The new Dark Ages are upon us, and all the human race sees are the those little points of light, no, not the stars, the LEDs.
God Help Us
The Watchman       

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