Monday, January 11, 2010

Evolution Revolution

When history began, when people first began to write, the consequences were tragic, at least from one perspective. The ancient art of the oral account, the prodigious memories that were required to be a teller of tales or a wise man/Woman of any repute, withered away and something was lost from humanity.

Only in what few great sagas were transferred to writing, such as Homer's Iliad; and in the captivating tales still told by peoples on the fringes of "civilization," peoples for whom literacy is still rare, do we gain a glimpse into that lost world.

Today, the pundits and purists fret about a new onslaught: The electronic word, displacing paper and ink. Nearly extinct is the grand art of great letter writing; gone from popular magazines and many newspapers are the erudite essays that used to entertain and enrich us all. Popular culture today aspires to the low height of the picture book.

Each new invention seems to squeeze expression a little more dry, in the name of speed and efficiency. Already, teachers fume about students using electronic shorthand instead of actual words in their assignments: 24/7, B4, lol, etc. Alas, they "kick against the pricks."

Progress will be progress and one fights it in vain.

I wrote actual pen-and-paper thank you notes for my birthday gifts recently. I fully intend to write a letter to my uncle this week, in response to his recent query. I love to write and if that makes me a silly old-fashioned fool, so be it. I shall to my dying day cherish the feel of a stout, heavy pen in my hand, a sheet of fresh paper beneath it and my thoughts becoming loops and lines of ink. It is a peaceful art, far more soothing to the pysche than the nervous clicking and clacking of a computer keyboard.


Chase March said...

I agree, sort of.

The weird thing is that when I want to write, I almost always automatically go to the computer now. Other than my journal, I do very little in the way of writing with pen and paper. I never thought that would be the case either.

Ela said...

it will be a rare art just like anything handmade. It will never die I think. It will be a craft a beautiful handiwork, one of a kind.
This technology might bring handmade one of a kind books back even more. what do you think?

Eastcoastdweller said...

Chase: It is perhaps inevitable. My rough notes always start out on paper but get finalized on the computer.

Ela: The worry is, that a rare art can become an extinct art, and the how-to's of a craft become speculation for archaeologists.

Ela said...

yeah, lost language symbols known and understood only by few/archeologists.