Monday, December 5, 2011

"I have one book and it's good enough for me"

One night, when I still worked at the newspaper, I was reading the newswires when I came upon a very short story out of Kentucky. I forget the name of the community, but the town council had voted down funding for a library. One councilor, when explaining his 'no' vote, said, approximately, "I have one book and it's good enough for me."

I assumed that he meant the Bible, but the story didn't say that.

Intellectual ignorance is a horror to anyone who takes the time to look into it. The devastation and blood it leaves in its trail is confounding when compared to the nourishment and kindness of which people are equally capable.

And yet which of us, however well-read, is not persuasively informed and hemmed in by that simple line: "I have one book and it's good enough for me?" Conclusions rise up like weeds in a carrot patch ... more and more and more and more. Explanations weave like grape vines through the branches of this life, taking hold and choking the healthiest of trees. I have one book -- or a thousand books -- and that's good enough for me.

And yet the bumper sticker remains unrefuted: Any conclusion you reach is premature.

With enough experience or enough reading -- even of just one book -- the dime drops a little: Conclusions, or other intellectual sagacities, are useful for their time ... a little less unkind, perhaps, or perhaps significantly more unkind. Whatever the case, you wouldn't want to take them too seriously.

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