Don't mess with my books

Every day I wonder if Google and web 3.0 are drying up my memory. Sometimes I hope this is the case, that virtual reality is robbing me of my neural capacities and not some kind of premature Alzheimer's that in the end leaves me prostrate, floating on clouds of forgetfulness.

Pharaoh Thamus feared something like this when Hermes, the inventor of writing, presented his find to him: “… memory is a great gift that must be kept alive by training it continuously. With his invention people will not worry about training their memory. They will remember things not due to internal effort, but by mere virtue of an external device. " Umberto Eco tells it by quoting Plato, and I quote them in a kind of hypertext continuum like the one that reigns today in the logic of the Internet.

The writing prevailed. Then the physical supports that contained it were overlapping to the extent that one technology replaced the other. Finally, the printing press appeared, a novel contraption that meant a paradigmatic transformation, but without having to kill memory.

The printing press, in any case, was a lever on which the scientific and humanistic achievements of the Renaissance were promoted, and on which a more universal access to the contents of written culture was forged. The emergence of an industry associated with this invention did not take long to spread throughout Europe and America and to this day.

Almost 600 years of perfecting an industry that seems to be in a phase of disappearance, something that cannot be easy to assume, much less stop. To justify it, the flags of environmentalism, the defense of trees, the raw material of paper in crisis on a global scale, are waved - with good reason. It is also an economic issue: the internet is cheaper.

They say that an anthropological relationship is one that chains us to paper. A touch of skin underlies the touch that marks us with the stamp of emotionality. Handling a printed publication establishes a link with physical sensations, a sensual - and sexual - foreplay that may involve, at least for some bibliophiles or book lovers, mating.

In some cases, reading García Márquez or an article by José Roberto Duque can lead us to nirvana. On the contrary, reading Isabel Allende or Luis Vicente León, many times, forces us to finish earlier.

Some fear that the book, the printing on paper, the material contact with what we read will disappear. Others believe that it is only the vertigo produced by technological obsolescence. On the contrary, the book will be a cult material (more expensive and exclusive) and the new generations will not have even the remotest need, as one had, to remove the plastic from the cover almost by bites and give way to the caresses, which is more or less what one does when turning the pages, to let oneself be carried away by the worlds that are created from that faithful buddy, sucker and onanist.

Finally, the book entered the realm of reification long ago to be valued as an object of consumption, subject to the laws of the market. Apparently and for a long time, it will be replaced or accompanied by that other indiscreet window, infinite, but equally dominated by the totalitarian rules of capital and the hegemonic discourse of power, called the internet.

Meanwhile, leisure fans, worshipers of pandemics and their quarantines, we have returned to being children during the dead hours of mandatory rest, tripping as much edited thing as there is at hand, not only for the physical and textual delight, but because the Internet is more what goes on than what comes at home, which guarantees to immerse ourselves to the bottom in that gadget of the past.

 

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