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Rabbit Holes

Godel Escher Bach book cover

January 3rd, 2022
Dan · Staff Recommendations

rabbit hole: one in which the pursuit of something (such as an answer or solution) leads to other questions, problems, or pursuits

merriam-webster.com

Rabbit holes are dangerous. Big Tech makes it easier than ever to fall into them.

Many large tech companies monetize our interactions using algorithms beyond our comprehension. They pull invisible strings that yank us back and forth between two contradictory objectives: stimulating engagement and staving off misinformation.

We are left to wonder: is the content I’m consuming actually enriching my life or am I being led into a vortex of emotional manipulation merely to keep me engaged?

We deserve better curators.

We are all curious. We seek meaning. We seek belonging. What if instead of exploiting those traits to manipulate us we were guided by individuals who take the time to study multiple perspectives and take our humanity into account to inform a holistic approach to empowering us?

We have them. They’re librarians.

Libraries provide a context for self-discovery rooted in respect and dignity.

I say we reclaim the rabbit hole concept in the context of libraries. We are curious creatures and the pursuit of truth is perilous. No matter what path we take it will be imperfect. Ideas will fascinate us and we will inevitably want to explore them. But, that doesn’t mean we should offload the responsibility for our own personal journeys to what happens to show up in our feeds from algorithms and giant corporations.

I would like to share one of my library rabbit holes with you. It may not interest you. After all, this is very personal. I only hope it serves as an example.

I discovered Gödel Escher Bach around the same time The Matrix trilogy was released. Themes of recursion, paradox, and infinity sent me on a winding path through multiple mediums and disciplines. I lost my footing for a while. I encountered contradictions, confirmations, and catharsis along the way. When I regained my footing my mind and heart opened up in ways I could never have dreamed of before. And, I believe this journey was only possible because of our public libraries.

But this is just my example. Everyone is different. What calls out to you? I encourage you to fully experience the library during your next visit. Find peace in a space that respects your dignity. Explore shelves with endless possibilities. Better yet, reach out to a librarian and discover how deep the rabbit hole goes.

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