Daniel González Linacero, a Spanish Republican teacher (murdered by Falangist gunmen on August 8, 1936), was the author of a school textbook entitled "My first history book"...
[...a digital copy of which can be downloaded from the Digital Library of Castilla y León].
In the last paragraph of the text, the author points out to his potential readers that the two great virtues on which life is based are cooperation and solidarity.
In today's society, in which market values weigh much more than many social values, those two foundations of life, those two "virtues" that González Linacero identified so well, seem doomed to be lost.
What does the library do about it?
In his book A Darwinian Left (New Haven: Yale University Press, 2000), the Australian philosopher Peter Singer comments on his meeting with the Belgian-American Henry Spira, a famous activist for human and animal rights:
"When I asked him why he has spent more than half a century working for the causes I have mentioned, he said simply that he is on the side of the weak, not the powerful; of the oppressed, not the oppressor; of the ridden, not the rider. And he talks of the vast quantity of pain and suffering that exists in our universe, and of his desire to do something to reduce it."
Many times, such a commitment does not obtain the desired results — days and days of struggle, effort and sacrifice that, in the end, end up leading nowhere. In those cases, when the spirits decline, it is necessary to remember what the Spanish Claudio Rodríguez wrote in his poem "Lo que no es sueño" ["What is not dream"] (included in Alianza y condena, Madrid: Ediciones de la Revista de Occidente, 1965):
"We are being defeated, but never tamed."
The American political theorist Langdom Winner (1944) works on the social and political aspects that come with modern technological changes.
In The Whale and the Reactor (1986), Winner poses what he calls "a revealing notion": that of technological somnambulism. According to the author, we walk voluntarily asleep through the process of reconstruction of the conditions of human existence by contemporary technology.
A technology that strongly affects knowledge, its forms of production, distribution and socialization, and the spaces in which this knowledge is managed. Including libraries.
Could not it be said, of many current information professionals, that they are true "technological sleepwalkers"? Have we evaluated the consequences of such somnambulism for our profession, the goods we protect, and the users we serve?
And, above all... is there a way to wake up?
About the posts
Texts: Edgardo Civallero.
Las entradas pertenecientes a la serie de notas Conocimiento y biosfera pueden leerse aquí, junto a las de las series Apuntes críticos y Gotas de animación a la lectura. Asimismo pueden consultarse las distintas entradas de las columnas Palabras ancladas, Los muchos caminos, Palabras habitadas y Libros y lecturas indígenas.
Por último, las conferencias, los artículos académicos y otros trabajos similares pueden consultarse a través del listado completo de publicaciones, o bien revisando el archivo de Acta Académica (de acceso libre) o las plataformas Academia.edu, Issuu, Scribd y Calameo.