[ by Charles Cameron — that little free libraries are like the Sabbath, and on the close-packing of angels ]
Let us suppose a parallel reality in which squares and circles, cubes and spheres, have wings. The nature of bureaucracy is that in the interest of packing squares and circles, cubes and spheres, it lops off their wings — convenient but inelegant, and what a waste of flight!
The Little Free Library concept is premised on the blessing of books — and the generosity of a gift economy.
Individuals put up little free libraries outside their houses, often repurposing bird feeders or mail boxes — but zoning bureaucrats not infrequently try to shut them down:
Crime, homelessness and crumbling infrastructure are still a problem in almost every part of America, but two cities have recently cracked down on one of the country’s biggest problems: small community libraries where residents can share books.
Officials in Los Angeles and Shreveport, La., have told the owners of homemade lending libraries that they’re in violation of city codes, and asked them to remove or relocate their small book collections.
There’s actually a Biblical injunction about this sort of thing — Mark 2.27:
The sabbath was made for man, and not man for the sabbath..
It’s a matter of priorities: zoning laws are intended to facilitate human life, not to frustrate it.
Or as Lao Tzu might say, the zoning that can be set forth in rules and regs isn’t the ideal zoning.
Creativity & Bureaucracy, PS, NB:
I usually think of winged squares and so forth in terms of creative ideation, and how creative ideas can get the creativity clipped from them in committe — making the point that a winged square is, in an important sense, a better “translation” of a winged circle than a circle with its wings clipped will ever be.. since it captures the material / ethereal binary that’s the essence of imagining a circle with wings.
Compare Picasso‘s reported observation, “the best criticism of any work of art is another work of art.”
Has anyone figured out the best method of close-packing angels?