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.


Writing by hand, for some reason, makes what we are writing stick in our minds longer, whether we be copying notes from a textbook, lecture, or compsing original material. This is the best study habits for myself. I sit down and re-write all my notes from the chapter. Not only do they become more organized, but the information has made some sort of mentail stamp in my brain. Why is it that typing something does not have the same effect? Perhaps it is because writing by hand takes longer and you have time to read every comment as it comes out. I can't remember what i wrote in the beginning of this paragraph without lokking up a few times, whereas handwriting makes it stick the first time.

I found this reading particularly interesting because of the way Ong relates the topic to the shift from print to digital text. I find the quote (later on in this section of this reading),
"If a book states an untruth, ten thousand printed refutations will do nothing to the printed text: the untruth is there forever" reminds me of Phaedrus particularly because of the discussion we had in class when Dr. Jerz mentioned his PDA is part of his "external memory." Makes us sound like we're becoming computers ourselves. Hah.

I like that you picked up on the comparisonof writing to computers and I can definitely see that correlation. Writing can be a tool, but people must have thought it was a burden as well at some points through out history. The invention of typing was likely to aid those who wrote on a frequent basis.

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This page contains a single entry by published on January 30, 2008 12:30 PM.

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