Sunday, January 25, 2015
A SHORT HISTORY OF WRITING
Humans invented words to help remember and communicate.
Socrates was a curmudgeon about it all and thought transforming words into writing would make our memories lazy. More words got invented expanding our vocabularies. Great ideas were turned into words that stood the test of time– The Ten Commandments, War and Peace, grandmother’s recipe for fudge. Along the way, we fell in love with words and wrote poems. We selected words for sound and meaning. In modern times, daily newspapers shorted the lifespan of the written word to 24 hours. More recently, social media shortened a word’s duration to only a few minutes. Words buried other words under a nonstop and accelerating stream of updates that are themselves quickly forgotten.
What’s next for words? Will they move fast enough for us? Carry enough meaning? Will the written word die off and we go back to using pictures like our ancient ancestors drawing on cave walls?