Rebuilding the Future: What book would you bring?

Old leather books in a row

An ongoing dinner table discussion has been the question of “what three books would you take to help rebuild the future?” This discussion was prompted by a final scene in the 1960 film The Time Machine, based on the novel by H.G. Wells, where the hero returns to the future taking three books from his shelves with him to help rebuild civilisation.

Some may argue that we live in a post-literate world, but this can be easily discarded as a concern when it becomes increasingly obvious that communication is key to everything. Author Neil Gaiman argues that “we navigate the world with words” and “people who cannot understand each other cannot exchange ideas, cannot communicate.” Communication still is the center node of our civilisation, and whether it be physical or e- books, literature still holds a valuable place. Reading is about freedom: freedom to read, freedom of ideas, and a freedom to communicate: “It is about education, about entertainment, about making safe spaces, and about access to information.” Information can come in many forms, but it always has value for someone. It could be simply when to plant crops, or where to find things, or how to make things, or how to understand people. As such, when pondering the opening question we need to begin to consider: what information is most important?

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