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NA Companions (continued)


[From The Book Club of California Quarterly News-Letter,
vol. LXXIX, no. 4 (Autumn 2014) pp 141-145.]


Opening Remarks at the Book Club of California's
Bookmakers' Congress, June 30, 2014

by Peter Koch


I was happily reminded that day of why the Book Club was founded:

· --To promote the values of artisanship and the requirements of the sophisticated individual reader/writer/worker/collector over and above the power of the machine that so entirely dehumanizes work and maximizes profit.

· --To protect the values of the perennial philosophy that Ruskin and Morris could understand and applaud today.

· --To insure that in the future there will be a voice that speaks for the individual artist and for the joy of thinking and working without unplugging the imagination.


Upon leaving the conference I returned home (a short walk up the hill) to read Ruskin on the Lamp of Memory:

All the stamped metals, and artificial stones, and imitation woods and bronzes, over the invention of which we hear daily exultation—al/ the short, and cheap, and easy ways of doing that urhose difficulty is its honor—are just so many new obstacles in our already encumbered road. They will not make us one bit happier or wiser—they will extend neither the pride ofjudgment nor the privilege of enjoyment. They will only ,make us shallower in our understandings, colder in out hearts. We have certain work w do for our bread, and that is to be done strenuously; other work to do for our delight, and that is to be done heartily: neither is to be done by halves or shifts, but with a will; and what is not worth this effort is not to be done at all.... There is dreaming enough, and earthiness enough, and sensuality enough in human existence without our turning the few glowing moments of it into mechanism; and since our life must at the best be but a vapor that appears for a little time and then vanished away, let it at least appear as a cloud in the height of Heaven, not as the thick darkness that broods over the blast of the Furnace, and the rolling of the Wheel.


These words, written in the thick of the industrial revolution, echo justly today in the midst of our own digital revolution.

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