Where the mind is able to function in an orderly fashion, progressively developing, this activity takes on the significance of a work of art, a human aesthetics. As one grows more aware of this resonance of knowledge in an aesthetics of the mind, as one’s eagerness to learn is matched by an acceleration in the growth of one’s knowledge, a diffuse Prometheanism of a sort associates itself with learning. We learn in general from others and from books; but learning here becomes ours in a deeper sense, uplifting us above ourselves, above ordinary nature.
Bachelard, Gaston. Fragments of a Poetics of Fire. Trans. Kenneth Haltman. Dallas: The Dallas Institute Publications, 1988. 73.
Brothers, nobody should say or think: “What is the sense of bothering with copying by haand when the art of printing has brought to light so many important books; a huge library can be acquired inexpensively.” …
All of you know the difference between a manuscript and a printed book. The word written on parchment will last a thousand years. The printed word is on paper. How long will it last? The most you can expect a book of paper to survive is two hundred years. Yet, there are many who think they can entrust their works to paper. Only time will tell.
Yes, many books are now available in print, but no matter how many books will be printed, there will always be some left unprinted and worth copying. No one will ever be able to locate and buy all printed books. Even if all works ever written would appear in print, the devoted scribe should not relax in his zeal. On the contrary, he will guarantee the permanence to useful printed books by copying them. His labor will render mediocre books better, worthless ones more valuable, and perishable ones more lasting. …
…he must not cease copying just because the art of printing has been invented.
Johannes Trithemius, In Praise of Scribes (De Laude Scriptorum). Ed., Klaus Arnold. Trans., Roland Behrendt. Lawrence, KS: Coronado Press, 1974. 63.