General Question

fireside's avatar

What book would you memorize for the future of humanity?

Asked by fireside (12334points) October 27th, 2008

Let’s say some type of Fahrenheit 451 scenario were to happen and all the books were disappearing.

It doesn’t matter to me why the books are disappearing, maybe it is firefighters of the future, maybe it is some type of paper eating bacteria that spreads around the globe, maybe people are all going blind and the only way to remember the books is by memorization. If it matters to you, you pick.

What book would you choose to memorize and share over and over again with the people that you meet in your travels?
Why would you choose to memorize that particular book and preserve it for some future time when a transcription might be made?

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27 Answers

DrasticDreamer's avatar

Oh, my… Just one? Or can I pick more than one? And no, I don’t want to choose books that I simply like. They would be significantly relevant for humanity to remember.

Hobbes's avatar

I suppose the Works of Shakespeare don’t count as a single book?

fireside's avatar

Hey, whatever you can keep in your head counts.

breedmitch's avatar

Maybe something short and inspirational? I’ll be in charge of Jonathon Livingston Seagull.
No need to worry. I got it.

jholler's avatar

the Bible. this is one thing I do respect about islam, the encouragement to memorize their koran.

asmonet's avatar

the complete collection of grimm fairytales

or plato’s republic. cause i dig it.

AstroChuck's avatar

The Complete Kama Sutra: Unabridged

Trustinglife's avatar

Martin Luther King, Jr.‘s speeches. (I’m sure there is a book of them somewhere.)

They move me like nothing else. I’d be honored to carry on the memory of his powerful messages.

I read Fahrenheit 451 about 12 years ago. I still think about it. I’m amazed at how prescient Bradbury was. Scary how accurate he was in predicting. We have a “wall” where we watch movies in our house.

EmpressPixie's avatar

Breedmitch and Asmonet are taking care of some really important books to me, so I’ll cover both Alice books. In Wonderland and Through the Looking Glass

fireside's avatar

I’m loving all of these suggestions so far.

I’d probably go with Homer’s The Odyssey
or Some Answered Questions by Abdul Baha

@chuck – i bet that would be a fun one to share, lol

BronxLens's avatar

With a more pragmatic goal, and considering the prodigious memory needed -which I confess of not having ;) , I would go for an entire encyclopedia

fireside's avatar

lol, i thought about that too, Bronx. I say go for it. Maybe the mysterious paper eating bacteria also had some chemical element that boosts people’s memories at the same time. but Ayn Rand is a good choice too.

asmonet's avatar

Ah, I didn’t explain fully why I chose Plato’s Republic cause I was on my phone but this is why:
The Republic (Greek: Πολιτεία / Politeía, meaning “political system;” Latin: Res Publica, meaning “public business” or literally “public thing”) is a Socratic dialogue by Plato, written in approximately 360 BC. It is one of the most influential works of philosophy and political theory, and arguably Plato’s best known work. In it, Socrates and various other Athenians and foreigners discuss the meaning of justice and whether the just man is happier than the unjust man by constructing an imaginary city ruled by philosopher-kings. The dialogue also discusses the nature of the philosopher, Plato’s Theory of Forms, the conflict between philosophy and poetry, and the immortality of the soul.

Sounds like it’d be the be all end all besides a religious text in reshaping society to an ideal state. Religious texts through history seem to spawn more good than hatred. But I can’t imagine a crusade being undertaken over a theory.

Grimm’s Fairytales because, well. Good simple lessons that translate well in any world.

fireside's avatar

@asmonet – i love the allegory of the cave. was just talking about it last night with some people.

Hobbes's avatar

@Bronx – Personally, I hated Ayn Rand. Her writing was passable but her philosophy is wacked out beyond help.

@asmonet – though the Republic has influenced a lot of modern political theory, I think our ideas have advanced enough that it’s become outdated. Also – Grimm’s fairy tales are wonderful stories, but I don’t know about good lessons. “Now kids – don’t do nice things for your grandmother or you’ll have to suffer through a big rape metaphor!” and “Never try to fit your foot into a shoe by cutting off your heel or your toes – the blood will soak through and everyone will see!”

asmonet's avatar

@Hobbes: I think fantasy and fairy tales are important… for a number of reasons. I think you’re looking at them a a bit narrowly. And yes, obviously it’s outdated, but I think it’s an important work, that personally I enjoyed immensely. I guess my ‘be all end all’ gave the wrong impression, and I’m not sure why I chose it in hindsight. I think it’s a good piece to keep in mind. And has valuable information, I think if the world went kaboom we’d all have our own memories so it’s not like we’d be copy pasting government from ancient times according to one dude.

Nimis's avatar

Hobbes: I agree. Though I would have used a less generous word than passable.
On a nicer note, Atlas Shrugged is the one I hated the least.

kruger_d's avatar

As many children’s books as a bear of little brain like me can fit,starting with Pooh.

Trustinglife's avatar

Anyone want to take a stab at memorizing the internet?

Or maybe just wikipedia?

fireside's avatar

lol, i can just see you sharing the internet
~~~~Let me tell you a story~~~~

Trustinglife's avatar

It’d probably be useful to memorize the book, Conversations with God. That’d be interesting.

breedmitch's avatar

Ayn Rand can bite my ass. I’d be happy to have her books lost to oblivion.

DrasticDreamer's avatar

This has been hard for me – there are many books I would love to memorize, but the first one that comes to mind is Orlando by Virginia Woolf. Not because of the personal focus on the characters, but because of how she describes human beings and the meaningless restrictions we place on ourselves in society in general. Just the fact alone that the main character switches sexes throughout the ages is a reason the book should be remembered. All of the feelings associated with not feeling “male” or “female” enough. All of the restrictions in general…

She was an amazing writer.

sdeutsch's avatar

A Swiftly Tilting Planet would be my first choice – I’ve read it at least 20 times, and every time I get something different out of it. It’s a great story with beautiful writing, and a lot of good lessons too – not something I’d want to lose if all the books were burned…

fireside's avatar

Very cool, now I have three new books to read (well, we’ll call CWG a collective one).

and a really ugly image of ayn rand biting breedmitch’s ass, or anyone’s for that matter

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