"No longer was handwriting simply a mechanical skill... it was seen as involving both mind and body, 'an active process in which the soul was uplifted and the body disciplined.'" - (p. 58) Baron, Writing Materials

Many of these writers are afraid that writing or printing will have an effect on people's souls. Baron says that handwriting disciplined the soul and Socrates said that it would make the soul forgetful.


Handwriting does discipline us. A fool proof method of studying, I have found, is to hand write all of the chapter notes. For some reason, the information sticks, maybe because you have to think about what you are going to write. It isn't as instantaneous as typing is. Typing notes does virtually nothing for me. So maybe Baron and Socrates were onto something...

I think the different mindsets are due to drastically different time periods and where the evolution of writing has taken us.

Handwriting is a discipline just as any mechanical skill is--driving, eating with a fork and knife, carpentry, etc. With all those things, as with writing, practice makes perfect. Writing is a discipline because it does take practice, at one point that focus was just more on forming the letters than the actual content they made up.

Socrates said writing would make the mind forgetful because of the laziness it imposed. Men no longer had to train themselves to memorize things of importance because writing set those memories in stone (okay, goat skin). Any way it's cut, writing definitely has an effect on the soul, for me the effect just happens to be very positive.

Tying things to one's spiritual health was and still is a common tactic of propaganda used by organized religion to make their rules seem more concrete (after all, most people probably aren't going to obey rules unless they know what the consequences are for breaking them, though even that won't stop some). Unfortunately, using fear tactics to scare people into doing "what's right" (which differs from one religion to the next) doesn't really instill people with strong faith; rather, it trivializes their free will.

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This page contains a single entry by published on February 16, 2008 4:37 PM.

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