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  • Writer's pictureSumbella

From Cambridge to Peshawar: Celebrating the Legacy of the Printing Press

[#Cambridge + the #PrintingPress] Today, visiting a small, nondescript bookshop in the main bazaar of Peshawar, I remembered my visit just the week before to an exhibition about the history of the printing press in the #UniversityPrintingHouse, at Cambridge University Press & Assessment.

And I remembered reading these powerful, printed words:

“This is a Printing Office, Crossroads of civilisation, Refuge of all the arts against the ravishes of time, armoury of fearless truth against whispering rumours, incessant trumpet of trade. From this place words may fly abroad not to perish on waves of sound, not to vary with the writer’s hand but fixed in time having been verified in proof, friend you stand on sacred ground— This is a Printing office."


#Reflectwithme: To me, despite developments in AI and all the talk of digital currency and talk of how printed books will soon be obsolete, I still have a strong opinion about both printed books, and cash (while we're on the topic). And my thoughts go like this:

Cash is king.

Written is reliable.

Because of this, I tend to err on the side of caution, wanting to preserve and protect both cash and printed books rather than transitioning headfirst into a solely digital world.

Besides: the creation of the Printing Press was one of the most important events and critical inventions of human history. I think it’s even more important to have printing presses now than ever before. Have you also noticed how online articles and even definitions are often edited or 'updated'? This can skew what really happened or was said to the point where you often lose the thread of the thing altogether.

But a print version in hand - like the quote I came across above - is 'fixed in time', and cannot be as easily tampered with like a digital footprint. And truly, I don't think anyone captures the idea I'm trying to get across better than T. E. Lawrence (AKA the famous #LawrenceofArabia):

“The printing press is the greatest weapon in the armoury of the modern commander."

💭💬#overtoyou: I’m curious to know: what are your thoughts? Do you think cash is gone and print books are on their way out too?

P.S. If you have never visited the exhibition in the Printing House in Cambridge, it is so worth it if you love glimpses into history.

Still reading?

📸A note on the photos: juxtaposing some snaps from both the University Printing House exhibition in Cambridge, along with the little bookshop in Peshawar, almost 5000 miles apart. See photo no. 3 for a sense of the size of an original printing press. I was taken aback by how huge and weighty they were. The last 2 were taken in Peshawar today.

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