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January 29, 2008

EL336: Ong: Move Over Bacon, Technology is Coming in!

"Writing is an intrusion, though an invaluable intrusion, into the early human lifeworld, much as computers are today.What is seldom if ever noticed, is that Plato's objections against writing are essentially the very same objections commonly urged today against computers by those who object them. Writing is simply a thing, something to be manipulated, something inhuman, artificial, a manufactured product. We recognize here the same complaint that is against computers: they are artificial contrivances, foreign to human life." (Ong. Writing Is a Technology that Restructures Thought. p,318-319)
Yes, writing and computers are and were intrusive to our well-beings. New technology came in and basically said "were here, like it or not", and we had to keep up with it ever since. Where speech was always there, it was a basic way of communication. Today we are forced to learn the new technologies. MP3 players, video game consoles, laptop computers, MAC, computer programs, portable DVD players, surround sound systems, and high definition TVs. Modern day society is forced to accept these technologies. Imagine a person standing in the middle of Route 30 yelling the news of the day......total insanity! The would be killed by a vehicle, or arrested and put into a mental institution. One day, we will look back at technology, and writing, and be in disbelief that it had ever occurred because something new will be around. We will look at it like we the we view the 1950s, corny and strange, yet perfect. Computers and writing can be manipulated because that is what they were designed for, to be expanded upon. If it were not possible to do so, then writing and technology would reach a maximum, then die off. I'm personally glad that we have advanced beyond simple structures, I want to see what is in store for the future.

EL336:Direnzo-The End of the Orator

"......Tiro transcribed and edited Cicero’s speeches, composed, collected, and eventually published his voluminous correspondence, and organized and managed his archives and library." (Direnzo. His Master's Voice)
I can full understand now how Rome became such a strong empire. The idea of an ancient secretary. Considered to one of Rome's greatest orators, Cicero's speeches were collected and published by Tiro, who took over after the death of Cicero. Tiro then became the orator's literary executor and biographer. Speech was strong among the city states, but educated people such as Tiro learned from the orators, who to them were mentors, were the ones who kept the orator's speeches alive. With a new form of government, came a new way of communication.

January 28, 2008

EL336: Brookfield: New Beginnings of Paper

Before paper
"Once people start to keep written records of trade, agriculture, and major events, they need a constant supply of material to write on. They use natural materials, such as wood, bamboo, or bone, but these are difficult to write on and and are not practical. The ancient Egyptians found that they could make an excellent material for their documents from the papyrus plant. The knowledge of how to make papyrus sheets spread all over the ancient Mediterranean world. When the supply of papyrus began to run out, people looked for a substitute. The result was parchment, which was made from animal skins. Until paper reached the West in the Middle Ages, parchment was the most important writing material." (Brookfield. BOOK)
It is so hard to imagine the days before paper, the type made from trees. Wood, bamboo, and bone? The complications that must have caused. From reading this, I now have a better understanding of how strong the written word is. Society had something to say, as they strongly prepared to have it all documented any way they could. For all those animal activists out there, at least they ate the animals after they skinned their hides for the use of paper.

January 27, 2008

EL336: Written VS. Oral Word. Is Anybody Right?

"..............writing is unfortunately like painting; for the creations of the painter have the attitude of life, and yet if you ask them a question they preserve a solemn silence. And the same may be said of speeches" (Plato. From Phaedrus)
Socrates spoke these words to Phaedrus, attempting to persuade him of the dislike for written word. A mere matter of opinion. The spoken word can only be carried over to so many people before it dissipates or becomes exaggerated; whereas the written word is able to go on forever, and no embellishments can be put into a text/book without the publics prior knowledge.
Socrate's passion for word can only be defined by madness. Look at history. History shows progression, from the oral to the written word. How can one person persuade an entire city-state that speech would be the mainstream for them? Possibly by isolation. But civilization was progressing at such a high rate before the plague, even after the plague there was a rebirth in the population. The written word outweighed the spoken word.
The quote from Socrates states that writing is like painting, momentary life, and then complete silence. He goes on to say the same about speeches. I feel that it is a schizophrenic approach to the matter. Socrates is attempting to defend speech, but in the same sentence, he denounces it. Maybe he felt that it would eventually become defeated by the written word.
Were Plato's WRITTEN thoughts actually Socrate's words?
How the two would have killed each other. A little bit of a contradiction. The only way to preserve the spoken word was to document it by writing it down.