Song of Two Worlds by Alan Lightman as Illustrated by Derek Dominic D'Souza
An Interesting Model for Knowledge Preservation
Song of Two Worlds is a poetic work exploring the intersection of science, spirituality and meaning. The title refers to the world of questions which can be answered, and the world of those which cannot.
While I've only read this review (http://https://www.brainpickings.org/2017/02/10/song-of-two-worlds-alan-lightman-derek-dominic-dsouza/), I perk up at a possible approach to preserving The Knowledge.
To my mind, poetic renditions of anything 'travel better' through time, especially through Dark Ages where intermediate expertise is lost. Scriptures - whether or not they are theistic - are universally written or eventually rendered in poetic language, and whole tomes are commonly memorized.
Here's a sample:
Great Newton, you hid in your rooms,
Outcast like me,
Careless of meals, stockings untied,
Drinker of rosewater, olive oil, beeswax —
You found the force
Between planets and sun,
Pattern of cosmic attraction,
Heard clearly the music of spheres.
You gauged the distance to stars
And the vast rooms of space,
Which were naught to the space of your mind.
You struck the door of the universe.
What raging night seized you
And screamed that the world
Must be number and rule?
Like Feynman's Single Sentence, there is considerable information embedded, here. Unlike it, it would be memorable for its sheer, poetic pleasure. Salted with information useful to intermediate carriers at any level of intellectual engagement (e.g., germ theory and hygiene with how-tos for water filtration/sterilization, soap, antiseptics, anesthetics, etc), I believe such a text could be carried far down the road.
D'Souza's illustrations are likewise suitable to our needs... simple black and white with a human figure in recognizable, natural depictions which render the spirit of associated passages.
Neither text nor pictures are exactly what we'd be looking for, but I submit they comprise a format to consider.
The trick is, I think, to capture the heart as well as the mind.