Monday, December 04, 2006
Humanity in Print
I always think EM Forster would have loved to have lived in modern times. He'd have been right at home with blogging, using social networking tools to turbo-charge his "Only Connect" and humanist philosophies. Mind you, he'd have had his spam filter firmly in place, being wise to the dangers posed by new technology. Forster wrote a hugely prophetic, and little known short-story The Machine Stops (well worth a read) warning about the dangers of reliance on virtual communities (amongst lots of other things). I shall heed his warning this morning, and go back to doing some pressing admin work which I've been putting off... However, I thought of Forster this morning, having spotted this excellent Forbes' Special Report on the current healthy state of "The Book". My discussions with Sam Jordison last week led me to discover McSweeney's, and - lo and behold - they feature in the report. Life has a habit of throwing up coincidences when you become particularly focused in pursuit of a goal. Forster was, amongst many other things, an optimist, writing one of the most positive essays on humanity (What I Believe) in the increasingly bleak months before the second world war. I've not read the whole report, but - to a bookseller - this report seems marvellously optimistic too.