Friday, May 28, 2021

A Canticle for Leibowitz

There has been a great nuclear war and the world is left in ruins. People have determined that technology was the problem, so they have worked on destroying all remnants of technology. Leibowitz helped retain manuscripts describing technology in a remote abbey. The monks copied important records, storing some, while also committing much to memory. 

The many centuries of history. The world stayed away from technology for hundred of years. The monks had to go through great struggles to save some records. Eventually the world had created new technology.

This is an interesting take on religion and technology. Could past societies have advanced to an advance state, only to have all knowledge destroyed? The passed-down remnants of religion would be the one source of the ancient knowledge that still remains. However, this knowledge would be interleaved with much other details with many bits expected to be known. (there is a bit where they try to recreate some technology and acknowledge that some things were not explained because they were just expected to be known.)

The novel also covers a long period of time. There are some records that are only preserved by luck. However, much is lost. After many centuries of time, the world world starts to create technology again in a slightly different way, only to encounter similar problems. How can we learn from our mistakes and not throw out the baby with the bathwater?

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