February 15, 2010
Slightly against the grain.
While reading this section in Eric Havelock's, The Muse Learns to Write: Reflections on Orality and Literacy from Antiquity to the Present, I tried to test myself by seeing if I could take on the opposite opinion of the one I have already formed for this class, which is that oral communication holds a better standing than written text.
So the first quote that I decided to bring in is on page 56 where it says, "How then can orality store its information for re-use? How can it preserve its identity?"
While I will agree that oral communication is lost once a person is finished speaking (unless of course someone writes them down or you have an excellent memory and can remember what they said, word for word) I don't believe that all oral communication is either 1)supposed to be re-used for many things and 2) will lose it's identity.
In the case of re-using oral communication's information, it is true that much of the message if not all of the message would be lost if someone never wrote it all down. Haven't you ever played telephone? Once one person starts telling a story to another person, yes facts do change and some things get twisted, but on the case of orality loosing its identity, I think that happens when it becomes text.
Okay, I agreed with the rest of the class for a couple paragraphs now I need to let out how I really feel. On page 47 of the text, Havelock says "Here are texts that do indeed 'speak,' but imperfectly." Yes, I agree, a text can 'speak' to someone for example the Bible, certain poems, cheesy romance novels that give you goose bumps and make you want to vomit all the same time, yes, those kinds of text do speak to people, but would you rather be spoken to or spoken with? I'd pick the latter. Orality will lose its identity when it becomes a written text because no one can even display the emotion that the speaker put into it and the conversation stops once the writing is put in place. I like conversations. I like when knowledge continues to develop and learning is able to constantly move forward. You cannot constantly move forward if you are constantly trying to catch up on different readings.
I'll finish on this note, on page 62, Havelock says, "The singing muse translates herself into a writer: she who had required men to listen now invites them to read." So I guess that's nice but which is more captivating to you....a beautiful woman singing to you while you're standing in her presence or being away from the beautiful woman and reading dead words?
Hey Muse, you just lost your relationship with men because now instead of being with you, they're somewhere else, reading. Let's put it this way, ladies, would you rather read a Cosmo magazine or actually be with the man of your dreams? Again, I pick the latter.