A world without printed books – what good and evil may come from this?

By Sushil Adhikari. Sushil, 23, is a visually impaired Nepali from Kathmandu, Nepal. Please read his article and leave your thoughts and comments below.

When an individual happens to read and contemplate upon this statement, I’m pretty sure that a kind of “creepy sensation” spontaneously germinates in his/her mind. In fact, this statement itself seems a metaphorically thought-provoking and truth-oriented prediction having both positive and negative far-reaching consequences.

We have acknowledged that education is one of the backbones of human civilization, and books are the very integral means of imparting education. Thus, every book is a wonderful storehouse of knowledge and information, a tool of persuasion as well as a strong approach to social-transformation, and all books are equally important as they attempt to express and give us something insightful. I imagine what will happen if technological advancement keeps on progressing at the same speed. Will this progress eventually compel people to cease to own books? Will people benefited or not?

It’s perceptibly seen that in the present context, people have already started to use Ipads, digital notebooks and other forms of advanced electronic and digital devices to read books, or access information wherever and whenever they want. This act of using digital devices to read books has now revolutionized the lives of people by making their livelihood much cozier. We can guess that it will bring more and more drastic change to the reading habits of people in the near future. Still, people, spending plenty of hours, wander a lot in different bookshops on the quest for miscellaneous books as per their interest which is rather troublesome and boring too. I now imagine that due to the easily availability and craze of internet, people will search, order, buy and read books from the computer in a single seat with considerable convenience. Not only that, but due to this technological progress, people don’t have to rely upon books whether they are printed or E-books. The information required to know or things to read are easily available on Wikipedia or within a single search of google, yahoo etc. This availability of information might lessen the importance or significance of books in future. For example, in Nepal, children go to school carrying many bulky books in their bags, but in the forthcoming days, these books will be replaced by single mini-computers/laptops, Ipads or similar things. If it happens so, the contents of the books will be archived on the internet or in digital devices, which could be read on portable devices easily and comfortably. Thus, the world will experience the apex of changes across the entire educational system. Therefore, it is reasonable to predict that people in the near future will cease to own books and start to explore a new way of reading.

Having stated the grandeur of technological advancement, now, a big question is standing in front of us: will we be really much happier, insightfully affluent and satisfied with such dramatic changes in reading books?

I conceive that it’ll create a big chaos while analytically interpreting the matter seriously.Despite the fact it seems to be progressing, reality might be somehow bitter. Indeed, this statement metaphorically and ironically threatens us as science and technology are now showing its hegemony over simplicity and originality.

When books will be replaced by the virtual realm, people will stop reading; printed books will be a burden to people; They won’t go on wandering to look for books, which will reduce social mobility and interaction with people, and that, in turn, will make people much more individualistic and even like the ape. Printed books will extinct, our next generation will have no idea how letters are written with “pen-and-pencil.” People will forget the real essence of books, and what’s not more?

Today, people are blindly engrossed in modern means of technology and communication. Along with modernization, massive industriliazation and technological advancement, people’s behaviour, their way of living, social trends etc are also changing. In other words, now the world is slowly being eaten up by the unhealthy competition of material prosperity and individualistic notion, through which the very sense of love, faith, co-operation, sharing and altruism are at the verge of extinction. Some people argue saying, “when you have google, you don’t need your wife either.” This saying also satirically unveils how modern people are becoming dependent upon the virtual and technological realm forgetting the importance of books. So, once books are extinct, everything of knowledge and humanity will be extinct.

More than that, once science and-technology overpower knowledge and insight, people will become busier with work and follow capitalistic trends. This profit-seeking tendency will make people work so much harder that they’ll have no time to stand and stare, and even to open a book and read a single word in leisure. In the lack of proper knowledge, people of our future generation will forget to laugh, their minds will be more destructive than constructive, they will stop smiling, and also they willl have no idea how to appreciate the “dazzling sun” and the “gentle breeze”, to seek pleasure from little things. The influence of sheer capitalistic and money-centric inclination willl blunt and even deaden human creativity to a large extent. If it happens so, all of humanity will obliged to dance furiously at the threshold of insanity. At present, even if people seem very happy with the luxury of technology, they might encounter the double despondency in future, who knows?

Why talk much about the future, we can see the present hectic world very clearly, where people’s minds are preoccupied with socially degenerating ideas, lots of destructive and unproductive matters, misleading notions and vested interests; for them profit and loss matter most, while they don’t want to pay attention and manage a single hour to read a great book. This predicament is not limited to the above words. Actually, some writers just write to distort previously established facts, and some politically motivated authors want to create propaganda and rumour through books, which are very very bad and detestable practices. Thus, the nascent hegemony of modernization and the sheer enchroachment of capitalism might strike the essence of humanity much more brutally, where people will have to suffer from alienation, disjunction and estrangement.Here, I don’t have any intention to condemn technology, because computer-technology has brought a drastic change in my life too. My view merely stresses on the question that: to what extent we have we been able to utilize these scientific invention and innovations rightly? Thus, I’m emphasizing that we must be able to comprehend the essence and the importance of books so that we can gain the optimum knowledge and information. In other words, I’m suggesting that people use the technology rightly, properly and wisely so that no harm and turmoil could be created. To clarify this through my example, in my early days, I, as a visually-impaired person, used to ask the sighted fellows to read out books for me, It was so much difficult since many books weren’t available in Braille. Now, due to technology, I’ve become independent from all sorts of dependencies to access/read the books I desire. Still, I can’t read printed books, but I can read the text of that book from the computer/internet without sighted assistance, isn’t it a great achievement then?

Thus, the noteworthy concern of mine is that we all must be very much careful in our attitude towards some negative trends brought about by the seeds of these modern means.

Reading really gives the aesthetic pleasure. Undeniably, Knowledge is power, and the more knowledge we have, the more powerful we become. Knowledge and character should go hand-in-hand, and thus knowledge without character becomes meaningless. Everybody has got the third eye, but not everybody opens and uses it. If people keep on folding their third eye, then books willl remain merely in the name of history. What is the use of running since we’re on the wrong track? Fast running only doesn’t guarantee our destination, but the important thing is the “persistence.” E.G., first, we try to run as fast as we can, and soon we become tired and quit it. But, if we keep on walking in a consistent manner, our movement, one day, sooner or later, leads us towards our destination. If we can’t fly, let’s run. If we can’t run, let’s walk. If we can’t walk either, let’s crawl. Nevertheless, whatever we do, let’s move ahead persistingly. Let us prevent our future generations from ceasing to own books. Effort is important, but knowing where to put an effort makes a real difference in our lives. Let’s not make children Reluctant to open the book, rather let’s encourage them to read. Similarly, we all must develop a habit of reading with proper understanding the essence of the text. In fact, reading without understanding is like eating without digesting.

Wrapping up, If the above mentioned propensities of becoming hectic and technologically more advanced keep on progressing at a rapid pace, then the statement will come out to be true that people will cease to own books in the future.

4 comments on “A world without printed books – what good and evil may come from this?

  1. William Parson on

    Very inspiring article, especially, vocabulary, and the literary elements are very striking! How does a visually-impaired use a computer? I’m longing to know more about the realm of blind friends. Best wishes, Sushil.

  2. Sushil Adhikari on

    Thank you so much for your kind words.. A very good question you have raised here. Please contact me through my E-mail at: gloomy_sushil@yahoo.com I will let you know about how we visually-impaired use a computer in detail.. Thanks a lot once again for commenting on my article..T

  3. Sue Lyssa Shaffer on

    I feel that there will always be a demand for the written word in a non-electric format. There are pleasures to be found in wandering the aisles of libraries & bookstores, finding the serendipitous finds.

    While electronic readers will lead to people actually reading more over all there is an independence to be found in words that don’t require electricity. Learning is power, reading is one of the basis’ of learning and reading is entertainment.

    However much our culture attempts to insist on instant gratification; in watching the movie instead of reading the book, we know & continue to value that individual joy of holding in our hands that special treasure, a good book.

  4. Sushil Adhikari on

    Very true, Sue Lyssa. It’s always pleasurable to hold a great book and read rather than to sit infront of computer and reading through screen. Sometimes, those electronic screens may affect our eye-sight…V


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