January 2008 Archives


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“Cicero compares the pen to an aqueduct or conduit: it allows thoughts to ‘flow’ and channels the best ideas to ‘the point of [one’s] pen.’ This technical metaphor never would have occurred to a patrician orator, who would have considered it undignified, but Cicero was homo novius, a New Man…” - DiRenzo

They certainly came a long way from the view Socrates and Plato had on writing. Tiro made a whole career out of writing.

Ong, Writing Materials


“Writing was an intrusion, though an invaluable intrusion, in the early human lifework, much as computers are today.” (p. 318) - Ong, Writing Materials

Plato and Socrates saw writing as an intrusion. But Ong argues that writing is not just a tool. It changes how you think and the order that your thoughts progress.

Brookfield (1-22)


"At first the Greeks wrote in almost any direction - even a spiral..." (p. 14) -- Brookfield, Book

This book is like being in a museum. Interesting to watch the evolution of writing. It said that the Greeks began by writing in spirals. I wish the book told why. Maybe the Greeks thought it was more creative.

Plato, Writing Materials


“…this discovery of yours will create forgetfulness in the learners’ souls, because they will not use their memories; they will trust to the external written characters and not remember of themselves.” (p. 362) -- Plato, Writing Materials

Socrates and Phaedrus debate whether or not one can truly learn anything visually, as opposed to orally. They say that knowledge given orally is more likely to be retained and stored in your long term memory. They talk about writing like we talk of new technological inventions. When we think of the definition of technology, we think of gadgets, not of writing.

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