The Power Of Writing Essay

1038 words - 5 pages

The Power Of Writing

When I entered this class I didn’t think that we would be discussing the concept of writing. In fact, I never thought the concept of writing was that complicated enough to be discussed in a classroom setting. However, as demonstrated throughout history different forms of communication, such as writing, have shaped and evolved human interaction and invoked societal change. For example, in Walter Ong’s essay, “Writing is a Technology that Restructures Thought,” Ong acknowledges that means of communication, such as the computer and pencil, have been in argument since Plato’s time (319). Consequently, I asked myself how something so simple has been taken for granted ...view middle of the document...

After searching for about an hour and a half, I finally found a couple of flat rocks that would work.

Compared to the computer, which I can type approximately 40 words a minute, writing in the natural setting seemed a lot harder than I thought it would be. For example, just finding a stone to write on took almost two hours. Ong describes the process of writing on the computer compared to on paper as, “because we have by today so deeply interiorized writing, made it so much a part of ourselves, as Plato’s age had not yet made it fully a part of itself, we find it difficult to consider writing to be a technology as we commonly assume printing and the computer to be.” (321)

This assignment demonstrated not only how hard it is to physically write, but also to find the utensils in nature as did our ancestors. Dennis Baron described writing, with a pencil, as “The pencil may seem as a simple device in contrast to the computer, but although it has fewer parts, it too is an advanced technology.”(39) In addition, this assignment helped me to believe that writing is not only a technology but it is also a technology that is taken for granted. Baron also described writing as, “we have a way of getting so used to writing technologies that we come to think of them as a natural rather than technological. We assume that pencils are a natural way to write because they are so old-or at least because we have come to think of them as being old.”(52)

The sociological effects that writing has had on our culture are immeasurable and unavoidable. Even though writing has been taken for granted, at one point in time writing was quite controversial. In Plato’s writing “From Phaedrus”, Plato and Socrates speak of writing as dehumanizing, “Then we will not seriously incline to ‘write’ his thoughts ‘in water’ with pen and ink, sowing words that can neither speak for themselves nor teach the truth adequately to others?” Socrates views writing as soulless and unresponsive, perhaps because he is illiterate. Today the...

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