Knowledge Equals Power, About Libraries

Roel M. Hogervorst


Categories: blog Tags: 100DaysToOffload DiscWorld

It was a perilous way, but the Librarian ambled along perilous ways all day. In the silence of the sleeping library he opened his desk and removed from its deepest recesses a small lantern carefully built to prevent any naked flame being exposed. You couldn’t be too careful with all this paper around… He also took a bag of peanuts and, after some thought, a large ball of string. He bit off a short length of the string and used it to tie the badge around his neck, like a talisman. Then he tied one end of the ball to the desk and, after a moment’s contemplation, knuckled off between the bookshelves, paying out the string behind him. Knowledge equals power… The string was important. After a while the Librarian stopped. He concentrated all his powers of librarianship. Power equals energy… People were stupid, sometimes. They thought the Library was a dangerous place because of all the magical books, which was true enough, but what made it really one of the most dangerous places there could ever be was the simple fact that it was a library. Energy equals matter… He swung into an avenue of shelving that was apparently a few feet long and walked along it briskly for half an hour. Matter equals mass. And mass distorts space. It distorts it into polyfractal L-space. So, while the Dewey system has its fine points, when you’re setting out to look something up in the multidimensional folds of L-space what you really need is a ball of string. p177 - Guards! Guards! (Terry Pratchett)

Books bend space and time. One reason the owners of those aforesaid little rambling, poky secondhand bookshops always seem slightly unearthly is that many of them really are, having strayed into this world after taking a wrong turning in their own bookshops in worlds where it is considered commendable business practice to wear carpet slippers all the time and open your shop only when you feel like it. You stray into L-space at your peril. p182

It is just beautiful how pTerry was able to bend the metaphors:

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