Saturday, January 12, 2013

Extraordinary Discourse 103

Thought Coming Through The Walls

Maybe our digital technology is still too new. Writing first appears on clay tablets around 3000 BC; it’s another 3,300 years before mankind invents the codex; from the codex to moveable type, 1,150 years; from moveable type to the Internet, 532 years. Forty years haven’t passed since the general introduction of the personal computer; the World Wide Web has only been in place for 20.

We’re still playing with toys. The Internet is blessed with undoubtedly miraculous applications, but language is not yet one of them. Absent the force of the human imagination and its powers of expression, our machines cannot accelerate the hope of political and social change, which stems from language that induces a change of heart.
Lewis Lapham
Word Order: The Internet as the Toy With a Tin Ear