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Codex Gigas

Discussion in 'News and Politics' started by Chessie, Apr 23, 2010.

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  1. Chessie

    Chessie Community Member

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    I figure that's a decent title for a book about the world today. There haven't been enough books written lately about the world today. Oh, I've read a few of the ones that have come out but they all focus on one or two subjects and leave a surprising amount of unsummarized material.

    Sure, the world is bigger than it's ever been. Most people have a social group extending halfway around the planet and there's more to read than can be read in an entire lifetime and those lifetimes are getting progressively longer each decade.

    We're half mad from media over-exposure and yet we can put together the absolutely crazy systems of open conspiracies being perpetrated all around us day in and day out. We might as well, at one time, have been peons and now we are given to understand the machinations of kings. It makes most of us feel helpless since all of this information is monstrously scattered and the influences of each system, (of biology on politics, of history on psychology, of sexuality on economics,) are terribly opaque.

    In the 15th century, a man named Hermann The Recluse set out to record as much of human knowledge as he could. His work became known as the Codex Gigas. At that time it was possible to actually summarize a vast proportion of our available knowledge about how the world operates.

    In the 19th and 20th centuries we used large sets of books called 'encyclopedia' to keep huge sums of knowledge.



    Now the knowledge is too great and it's more important than ever to have some index of the important events of the day but the fluidity of history in the minds of individuals has never been more obvious.

    The Bible began as a personal care manual and an entertaining set of stories mixed in with a little half decent pornography and a disaster movie for flavor to make sure people paid attention. It was comprised of what people knew. It, along with it's attendant fan-fictions (the Torah, Qu'Ran, the Apocrypha) comprised a huge chunk of survival information along with a bunch of history.

    Here's what I want to know.

    How would you go about writing a new index of human knowledge?

    This is more or less my bias but I believe it must be something a single person can absorb. It should be something that gives them a sense of the shape of the world along with a good chunk of things they'll need to know about society as it exists right now. One could potentially add a section about the future which will help them live, survive, and prosper within this civilization.

    How would you write something like this and make it interesting enough for people to listen?
     
  2. Bored Now

    On Holiday

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    Aww I'm not the only one obsessed with the Devil's Bible! http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Codex_Gigas

    i've been obsessed with it ever since I had a weird ass lucid dream in a crystal library and read a book somewhat like it. It was cool... and about the relationship between physics and spirituality. I have weird dreams... hee.

    I'm going to think about this question some more and get back to you. Is the internet the sum of human knowledge? That's scary to think about.
     
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  3. randomsomeone

    randomsomeone Well-known member

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    I'm not altogether sure that we of the present understand the our world nor the forces that make it go...no more than those who came before us fully understood theirs. Sure, we get reports of random factoids here and there but these are often hotly debated and over-simplified, including large sectors of scientific thought. Sorting out a composite would be a daunting task....I hear they are now out collecting and sorting all those random Twitters as a kind of record of our times. Good luck with that.

    The present is always messy. In fifty years we may have enough hindsight to more accurately assess, but now? Well, one could try I suppose. It would remain, though, only one fragment among many. A fragment might be better than nothing, but don't be too surprised if we are ridiculed by the future for out lack of clarity, personal bias, and basic unawareness. As with most volumes of this type, only some...those who are willing to analyze, assess, and in-see into the work and culture they came from...who will be able to extract anything of real meaning for the brave new world.
     
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    Chessie

    Chessie Community Member

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    Random Someone has part of this right. I think we will be mocked for our assumptions.

    I still think it is within our rights and might even be wise for us to make those assumptions regardless of their validity as a means to advance ourselves as a species. We look towards the future with trepidation even though our futures have only grown brighter as time goes on.

    I live in the brightest hour of humanity to date. I would feel remiss in my duty as a sentient being not to record it in some way.
     
  5. Ecton

    Ecton Community Member

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    It would be a difficult task. A friend and I back in college thought about doing this through the Interwebs and HTML. Someone invented wiki text and then Wikipedia came along.

    But I wouldn't mind having a more Farmer's Almanac style guide to life in 2010. It might be fun to write. An Introverted Intuitive's guide to the 21st Century. It could include tips for not freaking out on a subway, how to find a mate while living in the suburbs, tips for what you should never say in an email, how to use a vocoder, a guide to navigating culture war debates at parties, prescription drugs, sugar and salt intake, expensive degrees, how to network and jump between companies to earn a descent salary, how to debate the matrix or star trek with a fan, etc, etc. This could be fun to write.
     
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    Chessie

    Chessie Community Member

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    You know, you're right. I mean, that's all very simple information but it's extremely useful knowledge to have in a generalist sort of way.

    What I had in mind originally was a guide to the world as it actually is. Prevailing culture norms. Which countries are influencing global politics. Which people were killed by which governments. What companies are working for globalization and what companies are working against it. Silly stuff, you know?
     

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