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Faber says that books themselves are not very special. They contain no magical properties and are ultimately irrelevant in terms of their physical or metaphorical nature. What is important is the information they contained. In Faber's opinion, it was entirely possible for this information to have been transferred from the old society to the new one, it simply wasn't. The information was kept with the books, and became synonymous with them. In Faber's opinion, books are not the key to turning society around, because the society has closed itself off from the information they contained anyway.
The three missing "things" are quality of information, leisure to digest it, and the freedom to make decisions based on consideration of the first two.
By quality, Faber is referring to "depth" or "texture", the ability to see the whole picture and not just the pretty parts. In his opinion, society has glossed over everything and is unwilling to see the "dirty" aspects. It is overly concerned with pleasure and satisfaction and has lost sight of the value of those things without contrasting and supporting emotional elements.
By leisure, Faber is criticizing how society has managed to fill up an enormous amount of one's free time with distractions, rendering that free time hardly free at all.
By freedom, Faber doesn't elaborate, but seems to be referring to the illegality of dissent.
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