In modern times, the corporate elites and mass media have very powerful impact to daily life of average people. We have been told continuously in the school, university and society that we are better than ancient people because we have more sophisticated technologies which enhance our living standard. According to official story, newer things are always better than old things. Using advertisement propaganda, the profit-seeking elites continue to encourage average uninformed people to continue to consume newer stuffs by convincing them they need it because it is faster and better.
One of those technologies are computer and internet. During my times in university, a lot of people still thought I am weird people and very ‘gaptek’ (It is Indonesian slang for people who are not used to technology) because I am computer engineer but I still like to read lecture materials offline by printing it. Additionally, I still like to find out information by asking people rather than using search engine on internet. In their mind, old things are outdated and hence less reliable and competent.
However, as I have mentioned previously in my previous article that progress is an illusion created by elite people to keep uninformed mass to continue to depend on them. This morning, after some thoughts, I realized that the view that computer is better technology than book it is not as straight forward as most people thought. In fact, I will show five reasons why book is actually better than computer:
1. Book is more durable than computer
By existing historical and religious manuscripts written thousands of years ago, we are able to retrieve information from people who live in ancient times. These manuscripts are still readable even after such long period of time and need very minimum maintenance.
On contrast, average lifespan of computer is probably around 10 to 15 years only. Like most machine, you need to regularly turn on the computer and maintain it or it will become unusable. You also need a specialist (technical support) to repair it. Book has no need for specialist to maintain. Everybody know how to maintain it.
2. Book is more economical than computer (in long run)
It is almost related to first reason. You only need to purchase once and that is the end of story. You do not need more money to read it. Just take it from your bookshelf, use your hand to flip it and read it. After 10 to 15 years, you can still read the same book with the same method.
In contrast, usually after around 10-15 years computers become unusable. After that, you need to purchase new computer, new portable hard disk, paying electricity bill every month in order to read, distribute and maintain information stored inside your computer.
Furthermore, since most software change very fast, after 10-15 years your e-book format most likely will not be readable or supportable by new computer 10-15 years later and hence you need to buy new software. It is deliberately done by software corporations to make you continuously depending on them.
3. Book is more copyright-proof than internet
Like I said in previously, copyright law is a very corporate oriented law which deprived distribution to useful information. Distribution of information is supposed to be free thing because it can be duplicated without losing the original.
However, some corporate elites are not happy about this because if everyone copy freely, then they will make less money. Then they tell you that they cannot make their living if everybody copy freely. As I have shown, it is not the case.
Back to the topic. After copyright fascists use government and oligopolistic compliant ISPs to monitor internet, you can be arrested for downloading so called ‘pirated’ books, music, or movie from internet. In contrast, since book is physical material, the copyright enforcement for distributing copyrighted book is very hard. Unless government install CCTV camera to every house, it simply cannot be done.
4. Book is simpler technology than computer
To produce a book, you don’t need a rocket science. It is relatively simple technology which has been used since ancient times. Since it is simple technology, the average people can master it and become producer very easily. The publishing industry is not monopolized by few companies unlike computer industry.
On contrast, computer industry is completely monopolized by multinational corporations, such as IBM, HP, Microsoft, Google and Apple. It is because manufacturing computer requires more sophisticated process and hence required more capitals and expertise which not many people can do. It will be very hard for entrepreneurs to break the dominance of these MNCs.
Since we know that oligopolistic market is not healthy because producers have too much power and they can reap very huge profit to their customers. As a customer, you will want to have healthy market where you can choose to change your sellers easily if you do not like them. Such thing is impossible in computer industry.
5. Reading book increase your brainpower and memory, not reducing it
From my personal experience and what some people said, like this guy, internet tends to make decrease concentration and attention span, making us more forgetful about simple facts and making us become lazier. This is because instant availability of information and people assume that that information will always be readily available for them by internet and hence they are not required to remember even simple things.
But it is not true. Articles are not stored forever inside the web. Probably after 2-3 years, it will be gone and you cannot find it anymore. Even very popular websites can be gone less than decades. Most recent examples are social networking site, Friendster. Around 7 years ago, it is still very popular. Then, only within 2-3 years it was gone and replaced by Facebook. There is no way to retrieve the information back once it is gone because it is not in your head.
Also, reading quality book tend to improve your concentration because less temptation to browse and you will be less distracted by many unnecessary things like anti-virus update, Adobe Flash update, Windows update, latest news, and availability of Youtube and so on. Hence, it will stay longer inside your memory and make you deeper thinker if you do it quite regularly.
After saying all these things, it is not that I am anti-technology. After all, I am software engineer and I am making my living by developing software. However, I just want to say that we should be more critical toward technological trend and not blindly accept whatever your peers or technology enthusiastic say.