Ong's "The Written Word"

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Ong's "The Written Word"

Post  Atticus P on Wed Mar 20, 2013 2:31 am

For the first part of Ong’s writing, he explains the importance of the written word and its association with literacy. “Without writing, the literate mind would not and could not think as it does, not only when engaged in writing but even when it is composing its thoughts in oral form.” He is basically saying that without the advent of the written word, today’s level of commonly accepted literacy would be impossible to reach; understanding the written word is a step that all literate people must take.

In the second part of his writing, Ong backtracks slightly and warns that, while writing is a necessity in becoming literate, it also deteriorates the mind. “…writing destroys memory. Those who use writing will become forgetful, relying on an external source for what they lack in internal resources.” He goes on to explain that this process has continued over the course of human history. The evolution of writing has been transformed into print, transformed into calculators and computers, and will most likely transform into other means of quickly gathering information. Wise people are becoming dull, whose process of storing memory is slowly being deconstructed because of the availability of information-gathering resources.

Atticus P

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