Monday, 18 July 2011

The Keyboard is mightier than the Pen

Two quotes, come to mind whilst writing this post, the first 'The pen is mightier than the sword', and with a little Internet research which informs me that this now famous saying which I am sure we have all heard at one time or other was coined by Edward Bulwer-Lytton in for his play Richelieu; Or the Conspiracy, 1839:

True, This! -
Beneath the rule of men entirely great,
The pen is mightier than the sword. Behold
The arch-enchanters wand! - itself a nothing! -
But taking sorcery from the master-hand
To paralyse the Caesars, and to strike
The loud earth breathless! - Take away the sword - States can be saved without it!

The pen may remain mightier than the sword, but what is mightier than the pen - the keyboard?

My second quote is 'don't believe everything you read in newspapers', not as famous as the first but possibly it now finds more resonance with more people than ever before.

Language and the spoken word existed before writing, which eventually emerging with the ability to apply knowledge to experience, and understanding or at least in theory, common sense and insight derived and descended. This was the path taken by mankind the rudimentary oral and now written communication that replaced the hoots and gestures used by our lower primate ancestors from whom we are descended.

As long as 25,000 - 30,000 years ago, we humans were painting beautiful pictures on the walls of caves, and whether these pictures were telling a 'story' or not we will never really know. However they were a part of the early stages on the road to modern communication's. 

It is a striking fact, that the letters which we take for granted today in the printed book, derived from the most part from handwriting in the last centuries of the Roman empire. Indeed found in the fragments of Latin messages, written by members of the garrison stationed on Hadrian's Wall in about AD 100, and visibly identical to the letters taught in Western European languages today.

Cherokee Indians

The magic of writing is then encapsulated in the achievement of the Cherokee Indians in early 19th century, seeing the many advantages that writing brings to the white Americans, they embrace it with a passion, only still to be fleeced by the white man.

Well I could go on more about the wondrous human innovation which is our ability to communicate with one another, both through speech and the written composition. However let us fast track through time and space and arrive back home in the 21st century. Where in the Western world newspapers carry and disseminate and broadcast the news to millions, but only just. Over the past decade, whilst newspaper circulation rose globally by between 6% help on by strong demand in developing places like India, in stark contrast we in the West have started to bin our tabloids. 

Throughout the Western heliosphere, people are giving up on newspapers and TV news, and now are keeping up with events in  profoundly different ways. Most strikingly demonstrated has been charge of ordinary people getting involved in compiling, sharing, filtering, discussing and distributing news. Blogs, shared on-line journals where people can post daily entries about their personal experiences, hobbies and the news have taken off big time. People everywhere are Twittering reporting and expressing news and views, the part this has played in the Arab uprisings must strike a raw nerve with the world ruling classes.

Social-networking on the Internet now helps people, find, discuss and share news, even make it. It is indeed a revolution in the making, a conduit that is now challenging the media elite. Not only is it challenging the old owners of print, but the establishment political parties of government can expect to feel the heat as like minded people start to find one another and organise, as indeed we have seen with the students and the new massive movement still building against the cuts.

The world of politics is being turned up-side down, a new movement is building over the Internet; and this new movement will not be dominated by any-one self-propeled celestial star, but by the majority in participation with one another. I also don't think that any one party on the left as currently engaged in garbing as many new members as they possibly can will dominate, for the new dynamics, the forces that cause motions of bodies to change and challenge the system have now themselves changed, there will be no room for the old sectarian makeovers and bowel movements of the past - I hope that comrades learn to give, take and work together, time will only tell but one thing we can be certain about, never again will it be 'the Sun that won it!" 

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