The core of Lucretius’ poem is a profound, therapeutic meditation on the fear of death, and that fear dominated my entire childhood.
The stuff of the universe, Lucretius proposed, is an infinite number of atoms moving randomly through space, like dust motes in a sunbeam, colliding, hooking together, forming complex structures, breaking apart again, in a ceaseless process of creation and destruction.
In a universe so constituted, Lucretius argued, there is no reason to think that the earth or its inhabitants occupy a central place, no reason to set humans apart from all other animals, no hope of bribing or appeasing the gods, no place for religious fanaticism, no call for ascetic self-denial, no justification for dreams of limitless power or perfect security, no rationale for wars of conquest or self-aggrandizement, no possibility of triumphing over nature, no escape from the constant making and unmaking and remaking of forms.
The monastery was a place of rules, but in the scriptorium there were rules within rules. Access was denied to all non-scribes. Absolute silence reigned. Scribes were not allowed to choose the particular books that they copied or to break the dead silence by requesting aloud from the librarian such books as they might wish to consult in order to complete the task that had been assigned them. An elaborate gestural language was invented in order to facilitate such requests as were permitted. If a scribe wanted to consult a psalter, he made the general sign for a book—extending his hands and turning...
Note: Interesante forma de pedir los libros en el scriptorium. ¿Tal vez de aquí viene la regla de guardar absoluto silencio en las bibliotecas?