Paper vs. plastic

I was eating some yogurt while reading a book.  And I wondered: why is it that we put food, meant to be stored for only a few weeks at most, in a plastic container that will last at least 100,000 years, whereas we put words, transmitters of all our culture, on thin strips of pulped wood that will last a few decades at best?

A homely enough question.

The answer?


5 thoughts on “Paper vs. plastic

  1. Brad Green

    Stone is the most enduring medium. I should write my next novel with a chisel.

    The real trick is turn your words into such a virus that it constantly infects new minds. That’s the only real way to persist.

    But to answer your question…I can’t answer it. I do know that the Kindle or iPad or whatever isn’t permanent either. The loss of electricity renders it all inaccessible. But fire and flood destroy books as well.

    There’s too much focus on the medium when it’s the words that are, and always have been, important.

  2. Court

    Actually, it would appear that the most enduring medium is plastic. That’s what got me wondering about things, anyway. Why not words molded in plastic?

  3. Donigan Merritt

    Maybe Bradbury had the best idea — literature committed to memory within the human mind, passed on to each generation — so that as long as there are human minds, there will be literature. In the end, paper or stone, nothing endures like the mind of man; when there are no more human minds, it becomes flagrantly moot.

  4. Court Merrigan Post author

    Bradbury’s idea worked out swimmingly with The Odyssey; not so hot with the Gospels.

Comments are closed.