I was given a small task the other day, writing details in capital letters in a record book. I was appalled! Since I took to the PC my writing has deteriorated to the extent that I cannot read it myself. OK capitals may be simpler but I fear the slackness may be difficult to overcome.
This got me thinking just now about pencils, why I know not as it is a specific pen we will use for that book, but a pencil crossed my mind. It caused me to ponder on writing and how useful it is, where would we be without it?
Stone age man did not write. For several thousand years he lived a nomadic lifestyle requiring no writing but lots of flint arrowheads and the occasional stone axe. Some became wealthy, we know this because of ceremonial stone axes, the stone being a highly polished Jade, found high in the Alps. However there is no written record of this. Huge earthworks, of diverse shape arose, taking years, even centuries to complete, but not one word is found to explain the reason. Standing stones, often brought form distance, are found everywhere with not one attempt at writing thereon. Thousands of years pass without writing and little artwork to explain their thinking. Just standing stones, mounds and Cursors. In some places the inside of the Barrows feature circular and other designs, similar some claim to the effects drugs profuse interestingly, yet no attempt at explaining themselves. Surely trade with others required some method of record? Possibly these were small family groups, coming together only to work on the major projects or at special annual festivals, therefore there was no major trade.
Writing certainly appeared in Mesopotamia around three thousand BC, not so much as writing but as record keeping concerning goods traded. Withing a thousand years this became actual writing of one sort or another. India, Egypt followed southern Iraq at this time, as indeed did South America, and now some say China may have taken to writing slightly earlier, we might never know.
Had my brain been fully awake I would do more research on this but really I just wish to contemplate actual writing. Larger gatherings of people changed social outlook, some rose to rule, others took the lowly place. Sixty thousand lived in Uruk 2000 years BC if memory serves me right and clearly the powerful required control of the resources and writing was important here. Since then the better societies have encouraged writing both as a practical tool and for retelling religious and mythological tales. These bound the nation together just as they do today, so knowing truth is a requirement so we can differentiate truth from fiction.
"The pen is mightier than the sword," unless someone is stabbing you, but a pen can change the world! This is because of the brain behind it, present writer excepted, and the offering of the thoughts within. How fascinating that scribbles on a building a thousand years ago can let us into the lives of our forefathers. Words scratched on a prison cell speak of personnel torment, historical situations, and reflect the heart of the person. I find this fascinating! A five year old struggling with very big letters can change the heart of a miserable old git miles away, words on potsherds reveal a commanders fears of his enemy and desperation for support from his King, words etched into a cliff in several languages of the day show us how one Emperor sought to impress his world.
Writing is a gift, that is what I am trying to say. Today we are so used to words, books, papers, letters, bills, fancy phones all these make us forget how important writing really is. Take it away through accident or blindness and the individuals words changes, and not for the better. Maybe of course there are too many words, possibly we read too many, just imagine reading a 'White Paper' regarding some new political Bill, or a lawyers letter? Anyway, my tired mind just thought the use of writing is a fascinating and important part of society, a gift, ignored or not required for thousands of years, impossible to live without now. What thinkest thou?