February 8, 2010
My opinion is a broken record
In Writing Material: Readings from Plato to the Digital Age, in Walter Ong's section, titled, "Writing is a Technology that Restructures Thought," I found more evidence to support my opinion that oral communication is in more ways better than written communication.
On page 319, Ong says, "Plato's Socrates complains, a written text is basically unresponsive. If you ask a person to explain his or her statement, you can get at least an attempt at explanation: if you ask a text, you get nothing except the same, often stupid words which called for your question in the first place."
Thanks Ong and Socrates. I feel like I've been saying this the whole semester, thus far. My opinion is that text though may in some forms make you feel certain ways, my make you think differently and may even "speak" volumes to your soul, but it cannot speak to you. I think that you're missing out on so much if you can not have a conversation with a whatever material you're dealing with.
Oral communication on the other hand, talks back to you, answers your questions about its material and interacts with you. Maybe it's because I perfer to learn through interaction and physically doing something (although I would consider myself a visual learner, I don't learn anything if I'm not engrossed in it). But, what I don't understand is how you can learn anything without knowing the entire concept of what is going on, I think you can only learn all of that information through oral communication. Don't get me wrong, I love books, but I also have questions that go unanswered, in conversation, that doesn't happen. Though someone can withhold information, who really does that when you're staring them dead in the eye?
This argument is hard to make through writing. Which Ong also says later in his article on page 319, "...the written word cannot defend itself as the natural spoken word can: real speech and thought always exist essentially in the context of the struggle. Writing is passive, out of it, in an unreal, unnatural world. Maybe I'll be better able to form this argument in class when I can actually use emotion and speak, instead of writing these lifeless words.