Filesharing is the New Meditation

2010/10/15 § Leave a comment

The Gutenberg Bible, printed in 1455, was thought to be the world’s first printed book, until a British archaeologist found a manuscript hidden among more than 50,000 in a cave in a remote part of north-west China. That manuscript, known as the Diamond Sutra, is a Buddhist religious text, written in Chinese and printed on paper from woodblock prints around 868 AD. It’s the oldest dated printed book in history and is held by the British Library. ABC RN Book Show

Listened to this broadcast today. I was interested to learn that the motivation for producing the world’s first printed book was, in part, the idea in some strands of Buddhism that the simple repetition of prayers or mantras will help to bring about enlightenment.

This first printed book was dedicated to the parents of the maker of the book, suggesting that its repetition of the meaning of the sutra, by the reproduction of a printed hardcopy, was in order to help the parents. This is analogous to the spinning of a Tibetan prayer wheel can. (Though that’s more imitative of visualised spiritual processes.)

In an age of electronic digital reproduction such repetition has never been easier.

Thus I’d like to suggest that we view printing, mechanical reproduction, as very early file sharing. Steampunk file sharing even. For, the ‘format’ is not the book, nor ebooks, no, the format is the distribution.

The physical book, the tome, the scroll, and its libraries, its publishing houses, distracts us from reproductions’ primary purpose, to share the book’s contents. To share and to be mindful.

File sharing is a prayer wheel. File sharing is the New Meditation. Share files and gain enlightenment, or at least, spread it around a little.

crossposted at spacecollective

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