Do our writing means change our written ends?
Much to think about here and, at least from my point of view, well worth reading. Does the writing technology somehow impact the written end product?
However, in phrasing the question that way, I’m aware that it assumes that there is an implied “yes/no” response assumption.
The author is sophisticated enough to provide thought-provoking contemplations on “both sides” of the question.
The article makes it fairly clear that whether or not, the written product articulates great ideas regarding the “universal truths,” the opinions on the question of their writing “tools,” whether opined by the likes of Plato, Milton, Mark Twain, or David McCullough existed within a time and place that would never have a universal baseline. What came before Plato in terms of story creation and recording influenced the impact of the technology shift. What came after Plato, was not changing storytelling from oral to written, but rather from written after the shift Plato was concerned about to written one way to written another way. The concerns that Plato had were probably legitimate while written stories were a completely new phenomenon. But, they would eventually become accepted and adapted to by those who loved stories. Addressing initial concerns and discovering unrealized advantages of the new put written stories in a different place than they were when Plato offered his concerns.
Remember the switch from slide rules to calculators? The concern was whether we’d no longer be able to think if a machine did the thinking for us? But, today those who employ math in their required skill set seem to be doing math accurately, perhaps more accurately and definitely more quickly than in the slide rule days. And, because of those advantages, we all are benefitting from math in ways that were not yet conceived of during the initial transition phase from slide rules to calculators.
“New” takes time to find itself. “New” almost always meets resistance from those who “got the job done just fine” with a sliderule or a blackboard or a hand saw or a horse or a … well, you get the idea.
But, this is not to say that “New” by definition is superior or that “New” does not bring its own unprecedented downsides.
But the transition period between technologies is always “rocky.” It may not be the best time to assume that the potential up and downsides of the new are well enough understood or that the up and downsides of the old may not not fade more quickly than is speculated; even as speculated by the greatest thinkers of the time.
See on www.theatlantic.com