Sunday, July 26, 2009

The written Word

The written word is fast becoming an antique to a large degree. Texting is taking over with it's mangled use of spelling and symbols for communication. Computers and email are taking us away from human contact and the art of the written and spoken word. There was a time when a trip to the mailbox could be likened to a gift under the Christmas tree or a birthday present. Part of the fun and enjoyment was the anticipation of a magazine or a letter from a far off friend or family member. You could read words put down on paper from the authors own pen, know that that person had actually been holding that exact same piece of dried pulp, seen the same exact words and marvel at the different writing styles of each letter. You could easily pull that same letter from a dusty box years later, read those same words again while hearing the writers voice in your head as you read. Letter writing took more of the individual putting down those words with pen and ink than typing on a keyboard. A birthday card or Christmas greeting in the mail is so much more of a joy to receive and treasure than an email or text message. How crappy will our mantels be when all we have are printed emails to display about.

Even with a cell phone anymore you can not hear the actual persons voice because of texting or email. Instead of hearing the voice on the other end of the line which the voice being a major part of human connection, we see chopped up words. The actual person becomes less. We are missing and losing the connection with each other in this new electronic age. Removing ourselves from the human experience of touch and sound of another human being; a nation of hermits in the making. The sound of a mothers loving voice or humming to her infant child loses that much needed bonding if not performed in person. And it is so with our new age of communication that we are becoming lost and feel less for other persons in our lives. Why are we removing ourselves in this manner? The post offices are heading away from the simple abilities to walk in and buy a simple stamp. They are all heading to the electronic stamp purchase at a machine with a credit card. It's getting tougher and tougher to buy a simple little stamp. Then to are the removal of the blue post boxes that once could be found all around a town which makes life more difficult. We're making certain things easier for upper classes while lower classes without accesses to cell phones or computers or credit cards can't even communicate without large effort. A stamp, paper, envelopes and pen cost far far less than a cell phone or computer. Not to forget the less impact on mother earth is paper and pen. I wonder just how much more fossil fuel is used in the production of all the wares needed for cell phone and computers. My best guess would be a lot more than actual mail trucks and paper plants. I'd also venture out on a limb that the recycling expenses and landfill costs are higher for electronic communication devices than paper.

I for one had much rather hear my sons own voice on the phone instead of getting a text or email. But I also cherish cards and letters that he has made up from scratch, these I can look at time and time again. The person took the time and effort to actually go and find the perfect card or stationary to send the correspondences. Is the same for any family member or friend whom have sent cards and letters. It just seems that more of the persons life force is contained in those hand written pieces of communication. Plus, when your cell phone or computer dies the messages are lost forever. Many years back, a new electronic devise was used to make recordings of the Phantom of the Opera then stored in sealed urns and hidden away. Upon discovery not more than three or so years ago several of the recordings were deteriorated and broken. Some still intact only because of the discovery. Had they not been found in a few more years they would have been lost forever. But we have books that are hundreds of years old still intact for us to see all these years later. Nothing compares to these sort of written artifacts.

A hand written card or letter is more like a hug filled with feelings and life rather than an email or text message; sort of like viewing your new born through glass instead of holding the infant and bonding.


"Joker" said...

The march forward of technology continues to re-shape who we are and who we'll end up being as a race of people. Like anything else, it's good and bad.

The newspapers are already fading away. When you look back to the day when there were not one but TWO editions of daily papers, not to mention the "EXTRA" editions for breaking news, it's amazing how things have changed. I think many of us will see the day that they are all but gone in favor of PDA's and laptops.

Digital photos are another big one. Where before you took 12, 24 or 36 and were surprised at how they came out after developing them, there is no more anticipation now. You see it right away; if you don't like it, you delete it. The bad part? Sometimes those "less than perfect" shots are the ones that are the most unique.

Yes, I do find the convenience of technology to be amazing, and I do take advantage of it. At the same time, I also miss what we sacrifice in favor of it. Let's just hope they never get rid of real books. I'd really hate that.

WooleyBugger said...

Like you I would hate to see real books vanish. Laptops and such are all well and good ... to a point. But I , as I am sure you, have never had to worry about dead batteries or looking for a plug in to read a good book. And those old dime novels, like westerns, they always fit just right in the old back pocket.