#4 = I stole a book

It’s a crime to steal. I know that.

But what about a book.

What does it mean to steal a book?

Most things people steal have only one part. But a book has two parts
The material of the book (paper, publishing cost, hard cover, etc…)
The immaterial of the book (the value of the ideas and perspectives)

I walked to the west village last night and went inside Chapters. I found a book a professor suggested to me and after an hour of reading an unbelievable essay by Charles Taylor I looked around the store and thought to myself
This is robbery! I’m not going to pay for the material of this book but I’m getting all that is valuable about it.

I was also purchasing one of those blank notebooks. It had far less paper in it than the book I was reading.

The black and blank notebook cost 24$.

The book I was reading, which was thick and heavy and packed full of insightful, cutting-edge ideas cost  28$.

4$ for those ideas.

Strange.

I finished the essay and when I went to go buy the blank notebook the cashier said
Is that everything today?

I said
Is there anyway you can charge me an additional 4$?
What for?
I read a bit of a book while I was here and feel like I should pay for what I learnt.

She laughed.
No you don’t have to pay for that. There’s no way I would know how to charge you.

In our society physical things like books and cars are infinitely more monitored than immaterial things like ideas and perspectives, even though it is only immaterial things that can actually make a difference in your life.

Says a little something about what our culture values. And no, this was not always the case. There have been civilizations where ideas and wisdom were sold at a much higher cost than clothes and computers.

Something to think about.

Sorry for the tangent. I’ll get back on track sometime today. I still have a bunch of stuff to say about understanding others.

Categories: 25 cents, culture, ideas

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One Comment on “#4 = I stole a book”

  1. Alex
    August 19, 2011 at 3:54 pm #

    haha, good point!

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