I favor a Secularly Sacred Book as the medium for The Knowledge.
While I hesitate at the term 'sacred', the model of religious scripture as a vessel for a set of related memes (memeplex) is among the most successful we know. I believe The Knowledge will benefit from a secular application of their common features and practices (such as Gideon's distribution of Bibles).
I think that a Book with the following characteristics has the best chance of survival:
- * Physically durable - For longevity (e.g. Tyvek-like plastic pages and binding)
* Physically beautiful - For intrinsic, heirloom value (to keep it from becoming kindling, say)
* Physically small - For easy portability and grab-on-the-run
* Succinct - For easier understanding and replication by hand
* Simple, naturalistic, time and culture-independent language - For easier understanding
* Poetic prose language - For easier memorization and fostering 'special' status
To my mind, the book and its contents will fare best if inspiring a sense of reverence. I hesitate to say 'sacred', but the model of religious scripture as a vessel for a set of related memes (memeplex) is among the most successful we know. I believe The Knowledge will benefit from a secular application of their common features.
In the above sense, Lewis Dartnell's, The Knowledge, as presently written, isn't optimal, to my mind, for long-term propagation. However, I believe it constitutes an excellent first approach, especially in its structure and methodological content.
A Human Component
I believe that, no matter how well prepared and durable the media, the message will be better preserved with continuous human involvement.
Historically, trade societies, such as organized around masonry among others, were successful in carrying forward and extending knowledge and technology through European Dark Ages. Their societies were often secretive in their functions and deeper training, but open enough to 'crowd-source' building of the great cathedrals, palaces and fortresses.
Monastery practices of many faiths provide(d) a range of living arrangements for its participants, ranging from one person alone to self-sufficient communities. The latter were often fully or nearly subsistent. They can produce and process their own food, clothing, shelter, tools, materials and substances... in short, they were and are dynamic repositories of The Knowledge. Most importantly, by their example, they attract new participants to maintain their numbers and multiply communities.
An Order of the Knowledgeable, so to speak, pooling their resources communally would increase chances of survival for its members. Through sharing of knowledge, products and services - they would be more valuable alive than dead to surrounding societies and lordlings. It would serve as a living link to the language(s) in which such a book was written, and a basis for elaboration of its methods.
Valuable artifacts (e.g., microscopes) and standards (e.g., metric) would accumulate in the Order's workshops, both scavenged and constructed. Factory processes would be more easily tackled by coordinated communal efforts.
For the best chances of success, such an Order can - and I believe should - be organized immediately, at least at the hobbyist/club level (pre-networking local persons prior to collapse). Participation as a lifestyle can appeal as a variation on voluntary simplicity in the present, in service of the future. A land base with good farm/pastureland, water and woodlands can be acquired and developed. Many such groupings, scattered around the world, would have a better chance of one or more surviving a general cataclysm.
I believe a combination of these approaches is ideal for propagating The Knowledge via continuous involvement and hands-on refinement.