fallacies are more dangerous or easier to fall into than that
by which, having read a given book, we assume that we will continue
to know its contents permanently or, having mastered a discipline
in the past, we assume that we control it in the present. Philosophically
speaking, "to learn" is a verb with no legitimate past
book is not a tree.
is printed on a synthetic "paper" and bound into a book
format developed by innovative book packager Charles Melcher or
Melcher Media. Unlike the paper with which we are familiar with,
it does not use any wood pulp or cotton fiber but is made from
plastic resins and inorganic fillers. This material is not only
water proof, extremely durable, and (in many localities) recyclable
by conventional means, it is also the prototype for the book as
a "technical nutrient", that is, as a product that can
be broken down and circulated indefinitely in industrial cycles
-- made and remade as "paper" or other products.
tree, among the finest of nature's creations, plays a crucial
and multifaceted role in our interdependent ecosystem. As such,
it has been an important model and metaphor for our thinking,
as you will discover. But also as such, it is not a fitting resource
to use in producing so humble and transient a substance as paper.
The use of an alternative material expresses our intention to
evolve away from the use of wood fibers for paper as we seek more
effective solutions. It represents one step toward a radically
different approach to designing and producing the objects we use
and enjoy, an emerging movement we see as the next industrial
revolution. This revolution is founded on nature's surprisingly
effective design principles, on human creativity and prosperity,
and on respect, fair play, and good will. It has the power to
transform both industry and environmentalism as we know them.
seems possible that life—which we might loosely define as
an organism that can reproduce, and respond to and extract sustenance
from its environment—may be nothing but molecules and their
relationships. Indeed, this seems extremely likely. It need not
be disappointing; quite the contrary, it would be remarkable.
That a conspiracy of molecules might have created King Lear
is a possibility that makes the world seem an enchanted place.
do not think it likely, however, that the human mind (let alone
the wonders it concocts) will ever be explained in molecular
terms, any more than Lear is explained by the alphabet.
Most scientists do not believe so either. Phenomena are hierarchical:
all things cannot be understood by considering only what transpires
on a single rung. No matter how well I understand the way a transistor
works, I will not be able to deduce from this knowledge why my
computer crashes. If I sow seeds that fail to grow, I will do
better to begin by thinking about the nutrient content, humidity,
and temperature of my soil that by performing a genetic analysis
of the seeds. Much of the skill in doing science resides in knowing
where in the hierarchy you are looking—and, as a consequence,
what is relevant and what is not.