A Library is Not a Cathedral

"Crazy?" He rounded on her, all angles and motion, and shook a finger under her nose. "I know your type and your pathetic delusions. Oh, yes, I do. You think of a library as being like the mind of a great and noble Scholar—catholic, universally educated, and precisely organized. Every opinion balanced against its opposite, every fact quickly retrievable. The only biases those that exist in the knowledge itself. If a gap exists in the collective omniscience, a horde of servants will scurry to patch it with the best available volumes, each weighed and tasted to make sure the quality and flavor of information is suitably rich. And this puerile construct, this mock-loremaster, you think is a good thing. Get a life, why don't you!"

"If you'll just back up a step or two, I'll leave."

"You sneer at my bookstall because it's more like your mind as it really is—erratically educated, stocked with whatever unexamined assertions chance to pass within reach, crammed with dubious and contradictory information. The volume you need is here somewhere, but misplaced and out of date. Trash and treasure are thoroughly intermingled with no way to easily distinguish which is which." He yanked a volume at random and read the spine. "Scribbledehob. Musings on fireplaces? The picaresque adventures of a young demon? The demented scrawls of a disordered maniac? Who is to say?" He put it back, pulled out another. "Infangthief and Outfangthief, the merry pranks, doubtless, of a pair of witty and lovable rogues, filed alongside that useful reference work Unspeakable Cults. And to serve and order and replenish them? Only I, myself."

"It's okay. I don't want to buy anything. I changed my mind."

"Yet think! Use your head, for once. It is not commonality that we value in others but eccentricity. It is our differences that individuate us. Were you to meet your vaunted Scholar astride down this very corridor, with his perfect features and flawless diction, you would think him knowledgeable but strangely dull, a farrago of facts and citations and nothing more."

Notes:

Folksonomies: library mind knowledge metaphor

Taxonomies:
/art and entertainment/humor (0.521570)
/art and entertainment/books and literature (0.509100)
/hobbies and interests/reading (0.499639)

Keywords:
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Entities:
Outfangthief:City (0.983713 (neutral:0.000000))

Concepts:
Thought (0.981976): dbpedia | freebase | opencyc
Mind (0.961693): opencyc | dbpedia | freebase
Psychology (0.911749): freebase | opencyc | dbpedia
Cognitive science (0.774144): dbpedia | freebase | opencyc
Cognition (0.725680): dbpedia | freebase | opencyc
Concepts in metaphysics (0.574396): dbpedia
Free will (0.524503): freebase | dbpedia
Idea (0.523350): dbpedia | freebase | opencyc

 The Iron Dragon's Daughter
Books, Brochures, and Chapters>Book:  Swanwick, Michael (2004), The Iron Dragon's Daughter, Retrieved on 2015-01-23
  • Source Material [books.google.com]
  • Folksonomies: science fiction fantasy abused children