I’m working in the British Library this morning and it feels like sanity, you know? People of all shapes and sizes and colors seeking to discover and share knowledge. I think of what old AEH says in Stoppard’s The Invention of Love:
“A scholar’s business is to add to what is known. That is all. But it is capable of giving the very greatest satisfaction, because knowledge is good. It does not have to look good or even sound good or even do good. It is good just by being knowledge. And the only thing that makes it knowledge is that it is true. You can’t have too much of it and there is no little too little to be worth having. There is truth and falsehood in a comma.”
So here we all are, seeking to know truth from falsehood, in a miscopied line or an artfully told tale or even, yes, in a comma. I’m writing this while sitting twenty feet from a copy of the Magna Carta, a few words with the power to restrain the whims of a proud King; and the Codex Sinaiticus, a big book full of Good News about God’s love for us.
There are wicked books too, of course, and people who use good books wickedly. But for the moment it’s comforting to be here among the records of the wise and the living, breathing bodies of those seeking wisdom. It feels sane. It feels safe. Not everyone has either sanity or safety.