Telos Realized

11 Mar 2012

Geoff Dyer for The New York Times:

It went from being a new and unread book to one that was very evidently used and read. I left it lying around for a few days, enjoyed looking at the transformation it had undergone, struck by the mysterious transfusion of knowledge in which this object had played such an important — and historically tried-and-tested — role. The changes wrought upon the book were fairly discreet but, at the risk of projecting my own feelings of satisfaction at having made it to the end, I am tempted to say that it looked fulfilled.

All things have a telos, an end towards which they strive. eBooks are raw information meant only to be consumed, but physical books exist to be projected upon by the reader and then altered through the experience of being read. It is possible to develop a relationship with a book, because both parties are changed through the process. There a pleasure in such relationships, be it ownership and possession or the joy of transformation, and it for this reason that the physical book will take a long time to disappear.

(Via Matt Thomas)