I read recently that nothing will enter the public domain in 2013. This struck me, because so many of the books on my shelves are out of print books - quite a few abandoned by libraries. Republishing on the internet, for now, seems to save books from the forgetfulness of the library - always threatened by fires, as in Alexandria, or exile - as in the case of the Greeks forced to flee Constantinople.
Ricoeur has written in "Science and Ideology" that "nothing is more necessary today than to ... carry on with patience the endless work of distancing and renewing our historical substance". Similarly, Dupre writes, "While anxiously seeking a new wholeness we must carefully protect those fragments of meaning that we possess, knowing that they may be the bricks of a future synthesis."
In those words, I essentially see a message of εὐσέβεια - which includes respect of one's elders; or more specifically, 孝. (Similar cave.) This concept is arguably Eastern, though, even though it is contained in the fourth Commandment - visible most in "East Europe". We are wont to remember 睒子, how he was revived from accidental death thanks to his filial devotion. I am also reminded of Pliny the Younger's sentiment in Letters V: "It is a noble employment to rescue from oblivion those who deserve to be remembered."
The word "deserve" is key to the problem: many argue their parents don't "deserve" help, or that certain lessons "deserve" being passed down as legitimate experience.
I get concerned by such things because I crave the larger context of historical depth - as a child, I pestered the parents for stories about "when they were young". One may dream for the world over a century ago, Coca Cola free. What was it like to daydream before the advent of the train, the automobile? "The thing is worth what it CAN do for you, not what you think it can... Petroleum cannot possibly be in a hurry to arrive anywhere". It is this desire to travel out of oneself and things that looking back may afford.
And yet, there is a science above this; that the past is not to be worshiped in and of itself: how quickly this approach turns into hypocrisy (18,19).
And if valuable books, or sections of them, disappear - as they do, I prefer to think of the universe, the contemplation of which leads us back to the production of those books to begin with: "Is not the space between heaven and earth like a bellows? It is empty without being exhausted: The more it works the more comes out. Much speech leads inevitably to silence. Better to hold fast to the void" (5).
Perhaps knowledge must be lost, to reconnect man with that emptiness: gaps, lacunae. Even if something is the truth, if spoken at the wrong time: "The ill-timed admonition hardens the heart and the good resolution, taken when it is sure to be broken, becomes macadamised into pavement for the abyss," writes Maxwell.