Pixel image of the word "TEXT" in red.

what’s the norm?

“More than any single convention, writing has transformed human consciousness.” In today’s world, where written communication is the norm, Walter Ong’s claim has a profound resonance. Writing has, fundamentally changed our collective consciousness by reshaping how humans perceive, process, and transfer knowledge as a technology by various means.

Information age

There are always arguments that suggest the “information age” the world is in, is the most consequential time in human history. Although it’s true that modern technological developments have transformed communication, it’s important to recognize that writing is a form of technology in and of itself, one that helped pave the way for later developments. Society began creating means of expanding the boundaries of knowledge early. Pencils and paper were once revolutionary innovations that allowed people to externalize their thoughts and ideas. Oral language is outdated; however, it continues to have value. Even in light of the unprecedented communication channels brought about by the digital era. Despite the global use of written and digital languages, oral communication remains mostly used. Examples of preserved linguistic practices would be the oral traditions of various indigenous cultures.

In conclusion, the differentiation between computer languages and genuine human languages emphasizes how communication technologies are constantly changing. When made, computer languages have specific objectified features. Natural languages develop naturally to fulfill the communication needs of communities. When compared to the digital counterparts, they have different origins and functions, which are highlighted by this fundamental distinction. In a digitally savvy society, Ong’s observations force us to consider the long-lasting influence of writing on human awareness. Even though modern technologies are incredibly useful and efficient, the written word serves as the originator of all languages. It is their base. Understanding the historical and cultural significance of writing, helps us understand the complexity of modern technology and human awareness.


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