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Tuesday, June 13, 2023

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File not found on revolver website. But an article by Jackson here: https://medium.com/@bjax_/a-tale-of-unwante-disruption-my-week-without-amazon-df1074e3818b

Don't get a "smart" automobile either, especially a 'self-driving" one. The state could hijack it from you, with you in it, and drive to the creamatorium.

Thanks, David. Maybe Amazon forced (persuaded?) Revolver to take it down.

Jackson's crime was having a video doorbell, such devices being (of course!) racist.

Joe,

Beware of 'smart' cars, whether or son they ae self-driving. You don't want Uncle Joe to be able to turn off your engine.

And then there is CBDC: Central Bank Digital Currency -- for your convenience! What could possibly go wrong?

We must resist this totalitarian move with all our might.

I am saving up for a Model A ford, it will be my last automobile; logical, "primitive," simple, and untouchable by the government, and un-steal-able because of its manual transmission.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=z0imK2TaNUk

I could steal it, but I won't. Can your boys drive a stick shift?

You remember Robbie Pure. He once joked, "Why can boys run faster than girls?" Because boys have a stick shift and two ball bearings; girls are automatics."

Brunel Odegaard, science nerd who works with particle accelerators, doesn't have a driver's license or an automobile, and goes everywhere by bicycle (we built one up together from parts, including spoking the wheels); Piper O, his older brother, a software developer, has a license and an automobile, but only can drive an automatic. (And "cars" are what train engines pull over the tracks. A Model A is an automobile. Strike a blow for linguistic precision, and say "automobile" for what you drive on the road.)

For us bibliophiles, this issue applies as well to digital books. I generally prefer to read ebooks and most of my purchases over the last decade have been from Amazon. A number of these are treasured possessions - the kind I like owning, want to re-read, and later pass on to my children. But like the guy in this story, should I be suspected of something Amazon considers nefarious, I could wake up tomorrow and find them digitally removed from my account. Or, even if I don't do anything "wrong," Amazon has the ability to bowdlerize my ebooks w/ PC-correct versions of the text - without my consent or even knowledge. So, for the last couple of years, I have been diversifying my book buying away from Amazon and ebooks with DRM restrictions in general. Additionally, I have started buying certain favorites in hard copy - just in case.

Tom,

Your fears are well-founded. You are not safe unless you have physical books that you can read without the use of any electronic device.

You raise (inadvertently) an interesting question. Is a lover of e-books a bibliophile? I would say No. A bibliophile in the strict sense is a lover of physical books, books he can hold in his hands, underline, and annotate and can do these things without electronic assistance. A 'true book' will be there for your usus et fructus after the ChiComs have destroyed our power and communications grids.

But if you want to use 'bibliophile' in an extended sense, you are free to do so. And I would not call such a use a misuse, but an extended use.

But as a bibliophile, do I love the text, the binding, the colors and fonts of the physical book, or is it what hovers within the text, the depth of meaning invoked by the art of rhetoric and style employed by the author? For me, it's predominantly the latter, which can be found in the ebook format as well as a physical book.

And yet. I agree with you that a true bibliophile loves the physical books. The instantiation of an author's work in a physical book is a critical act, because the physicality of the work makes it final and complete - against government and corporate censors, for sure, but also against any amendment by the author as well. In this way, it is somewhat akin to an ethical act that, once expressed in physical action in the world, cannot be taken back, but only judged as guilty or innocent.

But those are more or less practical reasons why a bibliophile loves the physical book. What actual value does the physical book add to the true value of the work, the meaning of the text? The problem is that the instantiation of the meaning in a physical book is not like the instantiation of an ethical intention in an ethical act or an Aristotelian form in matter, where the relation of the idea to its extension in the world is direct. The physical book, however beautiful in its own right, simply does not match the meaning of the work in any respect. The mundane physical features of a book are infinitely separated in kind from, say, the soaring visions of a Platonic dialogue. In this sense, the relation of the meaning of the text to the physical book is like the relation of Christ's real body and blood to the physical bread and wine in the Eucharist - i.e., no rational relation at all that we super-smart post-Enlightenment moderns can see.

But I would submit that the physical book does add value to the value-laden meaning of the text. And that is in the Kantian notion of what existence adds to the essential qualities of an object. Kant insists that a concept of an object qua concept is complete and that the assignation of existence to an object adds nothing to the concept of the object that it did not already possess except: the conceptual object is now actual, not merely possible.

So too, the book's meaning is complete in itself and its instantiation in the physical book adds nothing to the meaning except … it is now an actual book. And that is valuable in itself. For what is an author's book that is never written? It is only a possibility of a book with little more reality than a unicorn.

So I agree with your strict definition of a bibliophile, that it is the love of actual, physical books. Ebooks are just too ephemeral to count as a complete instantiation of the work in the world. Amendment, alteration, or corruption of a digital text is all too easy and can occur without a trace. Physical books can be defaced or destroyed, but not without leaving evidence of the crime.

But to get to the point, I do count myself among the bibliophiles despite my increasing reliance on ebooks. My preference for ebooks is utilitarian and purely derivative of my love for physical books in general. In fact, my high regard for physical books makes it difficult for me to underline and annotate certain books, particularly my various translations of the Bible - it feels like I am defacing them. With ebooks, however, I can underline and annotate with abandon. Or, what is most common, I can easily copy and paste certain passages into OneNote and add extensive notes & cross-references. Additionally, ebooks are easier on these aging eyes; I can read longer at a sitting.

And note that I said I buy physical books of some of my favorite ebooks. That is not just to protect my books from confiscation by Amazon, but because … I simply want to own them. If I am not a bibliophile, then there is no such thing in this world.

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