Hi to everybody! I’m back in this timeframe after taking care of some business in Fungus Town of the Far Future! Our question today is about libraries:
“My friend is a writer and I love her books but I always borrow them from the library rather than buy a copy. I live in a small apartment and I’ve no room for books and money is short. Am I a terrible person?”
Thanks for the question. Let me reassure you that in triceratops culture NOBODY expects you to buy anybody’s book. We don’t have “libraries” as such as ours is more of an oral tradition of story telling. Also we don’t have book stores. Also we don’t have any kind of shops. Also we don’t have money.
Let me explain.
Triceratops are many things: wry observers of life, witty raconteurs, tank-like stomping machines crushing the furry ovophages we despise but also we are herbivores. We eat unprocessed food. We like eating unprocessed food, grazing is pleasurable for us. Also we are creatures of the plains, we neither seek nor need shelter because we are armoured against our enemies even the elements.
Now ask yourself, what possible role has commerce among a herd of triceratops? We don’t need somebody to cook or prepare food for us nor build a house nor fashion tools for us. We live in a society without goods. Without goods we have no need for money.
Like any social creature we produce art and culture but these are things we borrow and share because of their intrinsic nature.
Your primate friend though lives in the confused putrid nexus of an omnivorous (panivorous?) species’s metastasised complex of reciprocity gone badly awry and twisted into the perversion known as “trade”. They must write to earn tokens to trade for bread because their weak jaws cannot masticate the husky grain directly nor can their weak stomachs gain any nutrients from the abundant grasses that bless this era.
The good news is that borrowing their book from a library helps them as an author. Libraries help promote books and authors to people who READ BOOKS. This, I am told, is called ‘targeted advertising’ . It’s not unlike when a fungus person reaches their fruiting cycle and climbs to the top of the nearest tall building and flings their spores into the miasma: it is only those spores that settle in the places that are damp and dark which will spawn. A library is like one of those dank places and your friend’s book is like a spore and you borrowing their book keeps that damp place warm for the sporlings.
My advice to you is let your friend know that you are helping incubate the mildewy essence of her ideas.
Best of Luck!