alphabet ness

adding page because of this (from rabbit holing Dmytri):

reading from telekommunist site: by Baruch Gotlieb @baruch

Alphabetic codes rip spoken language out of the ephemeral embodied lived context of expression, depositing them in permanent silent scripts. At once we have certain socio-cultural consequences: no more must knowledge be passed down from wise master to acolyte, immutable authoritative texts will henceforth be available which can be copied and distributed silently.  Removing the voice of the speaker means that arguments must first and foremost be rational, rationally grounded, and self-contained (i.e. not depending on other contextual information). Since the meaning of the text can be autonomous of the culture or tradition which produced it, we see a new notion of human universality. At the same time , the alphabet has a standardizing effect on language, generating abstract grammatical rules which are then imposed on language learning. A patchwork of dialects are homogenized into ‘national’ languages.


McLuhan followed Havelock in understanding that the silent abstraction of uniform texts from the heterogenous, all-at-once, pre-literate world, created a cultural crisis from which we are still recovering today. Flusser said “every revolution is a technical revolution”, for McLuhan the revolution of literacy reached an apotheosis once the residual embodied-ness of calligraphic script was abstracted comprehensively by the invention of Gutenberg’s moveable-type printing press. Texts dissolve integral organic Nature into repeatable modular processes, a deductive mechanical model which promises to make universally available, at the disposal of all humanity, Its secrets. With Gutenberg we enter the epoch of the mass-reproduction of abstract human ideas.


The social transformations which emerge with the introduction of new technologies can be understood, according to McLuhan, by attending to how the new technology re-organizes the “sense ratios” of its users. The silent visual alphabet thus inaugurates a period of “visual bias” where science based on observation transforms the world into something that is meant to be read. Literacy is one of the early de- or trans-materialization technologies, with its alchemical capacity to (re-)consititue reality from its codes.

making us linear.. when we’re not..

same day tweet… from Deray


‘m putting together themes for an upcoming talk that I’m giving. I think I might talk about it being a “round world” & following your gut.


The alphabet provided the basis for what would come to be called ‘Intellectual property’. The endless flow of language like the endless rush of the waves once abstracted from holistic unity in Nature become silent commodities the most plastic raw materials. This transformation has taken more time, 250 years after the beginning of the mass-production of literature, and shortly before the industrialization of the technology, the 1710 Statute of Anne modernized copyright law and inaugurated the IP regime we still have today, making universal ideas into commodities for private consumption and owndership (thus also speculation) through the medium of alphabetic text.

The notion of privacy in this context takes much importance in the works of Flusser and McLuhan. . Before the written world all language was, of course shared, even secrets must be shared. After literacy a silent private world was produced which could provide a consummate escape from the world of human affairs, and deliniated the realm of ‘politics’ as a public forum. For Flusser, the sequential linear structure of writing generated the notion of history itself. From then on, events did not cycle it a ritual whole but ‘progressed’ and thereby produced a linear history.


Today, with technical images, generated and communicating at the speed of light, we have a return to the universal appeal of iconic images, except now, they are not images in the ancient sense, they are projections of linear texts.


from Harold – alphabet vs the goddess

@monk51295 You may find this of interest “Each monotheistic religion features an imageless Father deity whose  authority shines through His revealed Word, sanctified in its written  form.” —Leonard Schlain
Original Tweet:

Leonard: – father of Tiffany

reading preface, ch’s 1 & 35, and epilogue (all that’s in the link):

ch1 – p 2

Anthropological studies of non-literate agricultural societies show that, for the majority, relations between men and women have been more egalitarian than in more developed societies. 

Anthropologist Claude LÈvi-Strauss was one of the very few scholars to challenge literacy’s worth.

There is one fact that can be established: the only phenomenon which, always and in all parts of the world, seems to be linked with the appearance of writing . . . is the establishment of hierarchical societies, consisting of masters and slaves, and where one part of the population is made to work for the other part.

Literacy has promoted the subjugation of women by men throughout all but the very recent history of the West. Misogyny and patriarchy rise and fall with the fortunes of the alphabetic written word.

The key to my thesis lies in the unique way the human nervous system developed, which in turn allowed alphabets to profoundly affect gender relations.

p 3

I will present many cultural, mythological, and historical examples that will solidly connect the feminine principle to images and the masculine one to written words. Again, I will use the terms “masculine” and “feminine” in their transcendent sense. Every human is a blend of these two principles.

In their attempts to solve the mystery of the Goddess’s dethronement, various authors have implicated foreign invaders, the invention of private property, the formation of archaic states, the creation of surplus wealth, and the educational disadvantaging of women. While any or all of these influences may have contributed, I propose another: the decline of the Goddess began when some clever Sumerian first pressed a sharp stick into wet clay and invented writing. .. It was this dramatic change in mind-set, I propose, that was primarily responsible for fostering patriarchy. ..Each monotheistic religion features an imageless Father deity whose authority shines through His revealed Word, sanctified in its written form. Conceiving of a deity who has no concrete image prepares the way for the kind of abstract thinking that inevitably leads to law codes, dualistic philosophy, and objective science, the signature triad of Western culture.

Word and image, like masculine and feminine, are complementary opposites. Whenever a culture elevates the written word at the expense of the image, patriarchy dominates. When the importance of the image supersedes the written word, feminine values and egalitarianism flourish.

ch 35 p 2
The printing press disseminates written words. Television projects images.

p 3

Over the course of history, humankind has been profoundly influenced by the periodic emergence of powerful books…The written word’s influence has been declining for the last fifty years, counterbalanced by the increasing power of the image.

It was not mere coincidence that the
most explosive feminist movement in the five-thousand-year history of patriarchy occurred during the first television generation.

p 12

The shift from the word on the page to the image on the screen has also blurred the distinctions between men and women as roles, dress, hairstyles, and even language undergo ongoing revisions that serve more to unite the sexes than to separate them

The contemporary age has seen a sharp rise in violence against women. This is a reaction by men who are threatened by their correct perception that they are rapidly losing power.

p 13

Linearity, sequence, abstraction, and analysis are the mental processes used in alphabet spelling. They are also the processes that undergird the left hemisphere’s most representative functions-language, logic, causality, and math computation. The left is the hemisphere principally responsible for the hunting-and-killing human survival strategy. Literacy preferentially reinforces the left’s dominance over the right hemisphere, home of the gathering-and-nurturing human survival strategy. The values of the right hemisphere have suffered for millennia because literacy has literally held cultures that learned spelling “spellbound.”

p 14

Learning to spell occurs at such a young age that people are unaware of the changes in perception it causes. Once a person learns an alphabet, alphabet mental processes will influence their every assumption and decision for the rest of their lives. A culture that uses an alphabet as its primary communication tool hugs less and laughs less than those that do not. Repressed sexual urges bulge out in unexpected forms, most commonly presenting as perversion, fetishism, and a male obsession to control all aspects of female sexuality and reproduction.

Reading and writing are such valuable tools in world culture that virtually all governments want their citizens to acquire them. The benefits of alphabet literacy are magnificent and life-changing. Even when we become aware that literacy has a downside, no reasonable person would throw the baby out with the bathwater and recommend that people should not become literate. Instead, we seek a renewed respect for iconic information, which, in conjunction with the ability to read, can bring our two hemispheres into greater equilibrium and allow both individuals and cultures to become more balanced.

epilogue p 1

To bring this charge against the written word, I had to use the written word to assist me in solving this complex whodunit-an irony not lost on me.

p 2

The shift to right-hemispheric values through the perception of images can be expected to increase the sum total awareness of beauty.



www ness




idiosyncratic jargon

lines of best fit

x d glasses

document everything

et al