Are Books Invisible?

Books contain a broad wealth of information and are the keys to gapping the collective experience for generations of humanity. When one studies a book, their interest is usually contained to what its message is trying to communicate, through either written word or other visuals such as symbols or pictures. Whatever manner of vessel the book is chosen to take, it can be said that without the message it conveys, its presence is reduced to an untapped physical entity; a transparent shell, hidden away from the reader’s own reality.

The book can take on many different forms, and it’s because of this that the term “book” is essentially a transitional word for referring to the information presented on it. We recognize the term but do not have a finite definition of its physical form.  Based on this reasoning, it can be understood that because a book doesn’t retain a definitive structure, identifiable across all peoples and cultures, that the term is truly not applicable when dealing with the collective experience of humanity. Retaining information through visual cues and to a lesser extent textile cues (an example being brail) is however a universal experience. When we are deep in the process of identifying and processing these cues, the medium is no longer being acknowledged in a material sense, but instead our minds are solely conscious of the medium’s communication. The author’s intention speaks to us, gestures to us; causes us to be in the moment. It is at this point where the book’s construct becomes obscured from our conscious attention and any such preconceived notions we had about its physical are no longer present. This connection is precisely why the book is an invisible and intangible quantity. The mind cannot completely conceive the explanation of what a universal book is but its context is still absorbed none-the-less. We are not pressed to study the meaning of “book” because the real substance is found underneath its exterior.

When taking these points into consideration, it can be concluded that the book is very much invisible to the universal human understanding, as well as a potential afterthought in the physical form. The book is a tool for creating or re-creating, and in turn for understanding and remembering. We understand this when we accept the lack of definite form or shape these tools possess.


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