as I posted a book review last Sunday, I won’t do one today. Instead, I wanna talk about the burning of books. In history lessons, we currently talk about the 1930s in Germany, no pleasant topic. While talking about the 10th of May in 1933, the day that one of the biggest burnings occurred, I thought at first that I could never burn any book no matter what it is about. I love books with whole my heart, I love the entire idea of writing down one’s thoughts in a thought-out way. Every author put work and effort into his or her writing, every author had something to tell. In my opinion ideas and thoughts are one of the most important, most powerful and holiest things existing. Therefore I thought it would be wrong to ever burn any book, no matter what circumstances. But life is complex…
What if there are still a million copies left after one burned a book?
What if it contains thoughts arguing strongly against human rights?
What if the mind of children are endangered by conscious manipulation? (Like it was done in the 1930 with books written for children but preaching extreme antisemitism)
What if the own life depends on burning the book, for example, to escape being frozen to death?
What if you need to save loved ones by burning it?
There are so many what-if-situations that it is nearly impossible to say if one would never burn a book even if loving them strongly.
Personally, I probably would never burn books just because of some certain ideology, especially if there wouldn’t be any copies left afterwards. Also, I wouldn’t destroy books that are endangering physical or mental health, I guess I would lock them up. But if I would be sitting somewhere with only a book, nearly frozen death, I would decide depending on the book I’m carrying with me (considering the doubtless egoistic nature of human being I would burn a book under some circumstances to save my life). If I like the book, the ideas it is bearing, I would rather read it to escape reality and die like the girl in Helmut Lachenmann’s opera Das Mädchen mit den Schwefelhölzern. If it was a book like Hitler’s Mein Kampf I would burn it because I wouldn’t want to have bad thoughts as them being the last ones I ever read.
What do you think about it? Would you burn books? Under which circumstances?