Blogs: Career Change and the Superstorm
Sometimes we are too careful when we start making music. The ancient Sanskrit word “samsara” means “the punishment that follows the pursuit of pleasure.” Therefore, in order to enjoy any pleasure, we must sacrifice something.
In the same vein, many important problems are best solved with complexity. According to the ancient theory, nature is a series of complex molecules, with individual constituents that come to exist in a whole when they are brought together at a certain point. Thus, everything in nature, from the rain to the mosquitoes, is simultaneously and intimately involved.
There are many examples of this in nature itself. Everything from a duck is connected to everything else within it. Except for the proper function of the elements, individual molecules are invisible to the naked eye, yet everything in them functions simultaneously and in combination. Even if we could instantly follow the physical process within an organic body, only that small amount of light would ever reach us. Without the proper coordination of the various molecules, we would never be able to recognize the individual person that we are standing next to.
From a biological perspective, there is a general concept known as chemical acidity. In nature, each component of the ecosystem (the life cycle) ranges from 10 to 100% acidity. The larger and more acidic the ecosystem, the better the survival rate of the organisms. For any community to function, it must be carbon neutral. Without acidity, the community cannot exist. For our civilization, however, the concept of atmosphere and or material composition does not apply.
We are surrounded by numerous materials, like we are surrounded by the structures and components of our own bodies. Through the transformative power of technology, we are now being confronted with our own evolution and the act of transformation. And as anything in our lives evolves, we are not the ones reshaping it. As I write this, three-dimensional printers are making three-dimensional books of almost any type. For the first time, we are working with molecules that have unique chemical properties and therefore can express their unique properties.
Our impending extinction has us considering evolution. The development of the biological curriculum is based on observations of the evolution of organisms over millions of years. Now we are being challenged to come up with applications for non-biological advancements. How does this informed evolution apply to libraries? It appears we have been bitten by the evolution bug as well.
Since the non-biological part of our culture is, by design, part of our method of sustaining life, it follows that libraries have been at the center of this evolution for some time. Without it, we would not have publications, databases, and technologies. However, we may have been more cautious in our evolution of library management and technology as the culture has become increasingly accustomed to file systems and e-commerce.
Much more than a place to browse, librarians are the first line of defense against the loss of culture. A couple of months ago, the parliament of the Slovenian national library, called, “Libraries in the digital age” opened its doors. As a historian, I couldn’t believe my eyes when I arrived to this public library in Ljubljana to observe the evolution of library technology in the 21st century. A library, in a country with an 80% literacy rate, is allowing visitors from all over the world access to more resources than at my neighborhood public library. If we don’t begin to work together, the world will become either static or polarized into passive consumeors or autonomous creators.
We must act as we find the connections, mash the findings, and band together as the future of society, not as we discover tomorrow’s ruins or as we close off the side of the road when we consider the thoughts and time of the past. The question then remains: as our knowledge of human evolution evolves, can a public library manage the balance between traditional tools for modern advancement and the evolution of non-biological organisms?
For more on MindShift, check out its blog at www.mindshiftblog.com.