Of Books

Mariner recently read Neil Degrasse Tyson’s recent book, Cosmic Queries: StarTalk’s Guide to Who We Are, How We Got Here, and Where We’re Going. As we’ve come to expect, the astrophysicist’s works are easily read, loaded with logical explorations and saturated with facts. Just as many readers have a ‘complete book on gardening’ or ‘500 best recipes’ this book is everything one would want to know about astrophysics and the Universe, our galaxy and our own role in it all. This book belongs on every home bookshelf.

For example, Tyson suggests that in a million years Earth will have lost its oceans and be a big, dry, lifeless rock. He references the miracle adaptation by living things to the magnetic, mineral-based Universe. He leaves open to speculation what the future of Homo sapiens may be in the long future ahead. [Mariner suggests humans will evolve into a species called Amazonus Gobbetii; variations will evolve as Googlian, Muskian, Xi-Pings and Kochs.]

It also is Tyson who suggests that if all the planet’s glaciers melt, the oceans will rise to meet the Statue of Liberty’s book-holding elbow. Does the reader know what her book is about? Further, does the reader have flood insurance?

Back to thinking about books, how many readers have gutted their libraries, giving or tossing away lifelong friends and mementos and all those overstuffed filing cabinets? Mariner has relinquished very few books to public libraries. Mariner has many books very much older than some tee-shirts that are older than his children – who have children.

Mariner has bloated library disease. He is not alone in this respect; one of his fellow book-o-philes recently moved to a smaller residence in a retirement village. His study, like mariner’s, still is stuffed with his friends and mementos. Does the reader suspect that the printed word has become anachronistic? Is it similar to the donkey cart when the automobile was invented? An intimate relationship with a tin Lizzy isn’t as emotive as a relationship with an indifferent donkey.

What has the smartphone replaced? Face-to-face communication. The published word has faded away – so now will the spoken word as our species moves forward to the gobbet epoch.

Please write a book, Dr. Tyson, about our salvation as water rises to our elbows and, for that matter, when water has disappeared.

Ancient Mariner

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