There was a time when a RICH College at Oxford would have as many as FORTY books, each of them chained to the wall, with a full time Librarian to watch over them.
I call this the Chained Book Age.
I cannot see how anyone can really understand intellectual history without being acutely aware of this CONCEPT.
It is hard for us to believe that a man proved he was educated back then by insisting that men had more teeth than women. But one can see that an educated man was who the Librarian allowed to read a chained book, and who had mastered both writing and Latin, or even better, Greek.
A Book in the Chained Book Age was unique.
THE Book was denied to the people.
The Church said that allowing access to the Book would lead to disaster, precisely because Books were the Only True Authority.
And the Church was dead right in its prediction.
When the Bible got printed, millions died.
Now the Bible is out, and it has been and will be the best selling book every year in the foreseeable future.
The Genie simply will not go back into the bottle.
The Chained Book Age is over.
Boy, is it ever over!
From the Age of Chained Books to the Age of Google.
That is more than just a fact, that is a concept.
From the Age of Chained Books to the Age of Public Libraries — another innovation of Ben Franklin –was a hell of a leap.
Now even the public libraries are becoming quaint.
Our society has gone from the time when the Book’s version of facts was absolutely holy and restricted, so much that a person who could quote a Book represented True Wisdom to the time when you just Google it.
Knowledge has now gone ballistic.
But what about CONCEPTS, the framework within which thinking in the Google Age should take place?
Now you are not a hero because you can recite facts.
In the Google Age, facts are wholesale.
In the Google Age, concepts are the rare item.