BOOKS
03/07/2013 12:58 pm ET

Burning Books: Julian Baggini Sets Fire To Encyclopedia In This Thought-Provoking Short Film (VIDEO)

Julian Baggini is a writer and philosopher who has just released a video called Bibliocide, of him burning his old set of Encyclopaedia Brittanica.

"I had thought about turning the books into a work of art," he says on the video. "Instead, a funeral pyre. Ashes to ashes, dust to dust. Or perhaps it's more appropriate to recite the secular liturgy of the spine. Arctic to Biosphere. Birds to Chess. Chicago to Death. Decorative to Edison."

As he writes in an engaging piece that accompanies the video published by the digital magazine Aeon, "In my defence, this was more of a cremation than a burning at the stake. The books were already dead, terminally rotted after years of neglect... Nostalgia for obsolete publications serves us only if we use it to remind us of the things we really value, and want to take forward into our own new world."

Certainly, not everything was good about print encyclopedias. Baggini states on the video that they also represented "The ossification of knowledge... respect for the authorty of experts. The assumption we can trust authority to tell us who the experts are. Information as private property."

He ends the video summarizing his actions as "the gift of a lifetime, a treasure to last forever has been boiled down to a short internet video," he says.

It's certainly a thought-provoking one. Watch it above, and let us know your thoughts in the comments.

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