When I was a kid, I had a billionaire’s dream of building a giant library on an island at 0,0 on a map. The idea was simple – everybody could get to all the knowledge in the world in one big, beautiful building. The Library of Alejandro. Let’s build it.
As of 2019, 0,0 in particular has the most pirates, though I’m sure that fact only would have made Kid Alex want it there more. The idea that the center of the world is at the 0, 0 mark is a little presumptive, considering that point is only the middle because it goes through Greenwich. We want to give everyone a chance to get there, so let’s use the center of the world based on population density: South East Asia. As we can get to the Equator is find a beautiful place in Sri Lanka. This will save us money on the cost of building that island, as well as expenses on all those cannons.
Every single person in the world lives between sea level and Mt. Everest. Adjusting for population density, we need to find a place in Sri Lanka under 100m (328ft) above sea level. Oh no, dear lord, not something close to the beach!
Next question, what does the building look like? For something as important as the entire knowledge of the world, beautiful. But whose beauty? We can look at gems of Western architecture. The shimmering of the Louvre, the patience of La Sagrada Familia, or the fantasy of Neuschwanstein Castle. We can look to the marvels of the East: the power of the Taj Mahal or the precision of the Nan Ling Gardens. We can look to the future, to the beacon of the Burj Khalifa, the distinction of the ‘Memorial to the Martyrs’, the lunacy of the Vessel. Beauty is in the eye of the beholder, but this is a building for the entire world – everyone who lived, lives and will live. Submit your designs here because I’m taking suggestions.
The biggest issue is getting the information in the library. Assuming you could fax over the complete information stores of an entire nation, who would move first? Each country would have to give everything they knew – every technology, every piece of intelligence, every idea, so that the rest of the world can use it as well. What if only most nations with the most to gain contribute? Eventually, how could we convince the few countries not contributing into the fray?
This is the problem our generation needs to solve. How can we convince groups to act against their own self interest, risking themselves, in the name of a larger collective? It is pressing in every emerging facet of life. Climate change and technological development are the big ones, the country wide problems. But at a local level, who should house a homeless man? We don’t answer these questions well – we argue, deliberate and fail to go anywhere because both sides have modern reason.
We will learn to fix these problems. Getting there will be difficult and take time, but it is important to realize these problems are of a new class. I will build this library someday. Maybe not in Sri Lanka, maybe Wikipedia will (or already has) beat me to it. But I will build it with the help of every nation in the world. Because solving these problems will someday be easy.
Thanks for taking a sip,
This was a weird one. There are a lot of random ideas that rushed together after I started typing. Hope you enjoyed! See you next time. As always, here’s what I’m listening to right now.