It’s difficult to appreciate the freedom and privilege we have these days, when words and information and theories abound and can be googled from most places on Earth from a handheld smartphone. I can learn about basically anything, and write about basically anything, I want. True, some countries still try to stop their citizens from reading or writing about certain topics. But there is an almost endless supply of information shared today.
Even one or two generations ago, though, hard copy books were where information could be found and a publisher was needed before someone could become a published author. If we take this back a few steps further, to the Classical Age, very few people (relative to today) could read and write. The manuscripts from this age, written on papyrus or parchment, captured thoughts and theories that were, and still are, pretty wild and contentious.
The amount of time, effort, and luck that went into keeping those words alive throughout the past two thousand(ish) years is remarkable. Perhaps then too there were useless, long-winded narratives, but many were probably lost to the elements. The ones that still remain and can be read by us present us with ideas and theories from a very different world.
What kind of valuable contribution would you want to create, if you knew something of yours would be one of the few books that survive for the next two thousand years?
Inspired by the book The Swerve: How the World Became Modern by Stephen Greenblatt.