I take as my text for my meditation this morning Ecclesiastes 12:12 "By this, my sonne, be admonished: of making many bookes there is no end, and much studie is a wearinesse of the flesh."
This was apparently written roughly twenty-three hundred years ago, give or take a century, when there were, to put it mildly, fewer books about. Now, books are as common as tribbles. Quite often, after I have finished writing a book, I will walk past a bookstore and see the hundreds of brand new books on offer. "Oh Lord," I think, "does the world really need or want another one?" And yet, I never feel so alive as when I am writing. Last Spring and early Summer, when I was writing two books simultaneously [my Memoir and my tutorial on Formal Methods in Political Philosophy] and posting them, as I wrote them, on my two blogs, I was in a fever of composition. My mind never stopped composing sentences, even while I was shopping, or cooking dinner, or taking my morning walk.
I am comforted by Mark Twain's observation that "the man who does not read great books has no advantage on the man who cannot read them." Still and all, the good that men do is oft interred with their bones, as Antony tells us in his great eulogy to Caesar, and I am afraid the same is true for their books, though of course that might in some circumstances count as evil, which, Antony assures us, lives on. What long-living parrots are to ephemeral mayflies, so books are to blog posts. As some of you have reminded me, not everyone who nods in at this blog takes the time or has the interest to read the entire history of its daily posts.
Perhaps I am ready for our two week safari to Kenya, which starts this Saturday.