«Keep reminding yourself of the way things are connected, of their relatedness. All things are implicated in one another and in sympathy with each other. This event is the consequence of some other one. Things push and pull on each other, and breathe together, and are one.» Marcus Aurelius
The art historian Aby Warburg (1866–1929) is said to have donated his significant family inheritance to his youngest brother on condition that he promised to buy all the books Aby wanted in perpetuity. He had built up an enormous book collection right from his twenties, but, inspired by studies in Renaissance painting in Florence and Strasbourg, wanted to have a library that went outside traditional disciplines and categories. He called the library his ‘Denkraum’ (thinking space) and considered it a ‘problem library’ rather than a collection of books, where the differences between a dedication to knowledge and aesthetic output are erased.
In Warburg’s problem library, sense arises from compatibility. Throughout his life, Warburg kept his library alive by organising and constantly rearranging the collection on the principle of ‘the good neighbours rule’: the idea that books arranged by their titles – where every single work is complemented by its neighbours on the shelf – open pathways into the fundamental strengths in the mind and history of mankind.
I generally have four or five books open around the house--I live alone; I can do this--and they are not books on the same subject. They don't relate to each other in any particular way, and the ideas they present bounce off one another. And I like this effect. I also listen to audio-books, and I'll go out for my morning walk with tapes from two very different audio-books, and let those ideas bounce off each other, simmer, reproduce in some odd way, so that I come up with ideas that I might not have come up with if I had simply stuck to one book until I was done with it and then gone and picked up another.
So, I guess, in that way, I'm using a kind of primitive hypertext.
O amadorismo diletante com que hoje, e todos nós, projectamos e construímos em Portugal, não se compadece com a dura realidade que nos envolve e, sem cair em mitos ou utopias, haverá que, nesta matéria, rever toda a nossa posição e tentar soluções próprias para as nossas próprias e várias dificuldades, o que, aliás, não poderá resultar apenas da boa vontade de certos sectores mas de uma colaboração total a estabelecer entre todos.