much like reading and math.. and life.. perhaps it’s more about falling in love with the questions, finding the thing you can’t not do… until.. you can’t not write/share.
what is writing..
what medium can you not use and still call it writing..
you come too.
might we redefine nclb?
“a usable writing device that’s also a critique of the system of writing itself”
My review of the Freewrite aka Hemingwrite aka (as per me) DeLillograph: theatlantic.com/technology/arc…
by ian bogost
it’s easy to forget how much the tools with which we write change what it means to write in the first place.
Anyway, since my old file has evaporated to the cloud, I’m joining you again in a brand-new, blank file. Which means that I can’t remember what I was writing before this digression. I think I was telling you about how writing tools change the nature of writing. The typewriter depersonalized writing, disconnecting it from the human hand that once had fashioned it. Forms and papers, but also letters and notes became bureaucratized when typed instead of written. Not to mention sonified: the tap-clack-ding-shwwwnk of the typewriter signals industriousness, no matter the content on the page.
When the electronic word processor and the personal computer came onto the scene, they changed writing still further. Editing became a part of writing from the very start, thanks to the ability to move the insertion point, select and relocate text, to backspace and correct, and generally to enter the copy arbitrarily.
Writing today feels terrible not because writing has changed (surely writing always felt terrible), but because today one can never write alone. The writer always feels watched by the voyeur army of real and imagined critics that later will post or tweet inflammatory comments after publication.
The Freewrite removes that shroud, situating the writer in the world, while also making the writer’s work transparent to any who would happen to look or wonder. And given that the device is small and light enough to take anywhere, that place could be anywhere—the armchair, the bed, the toilet, the terrace, the lawn. It signals that its user is writing, because it can do nothing else.
(and costs 500 – so not advocating.. just interesting look at history of tech and writing)
The Freewrite almost feels like an en plein air field easel, but for words rather than pigments. I can look at what I am writing about, without looking back and forth to the screen on which I would write it.
I feel headless. Blind, almost. I’m typing—writing, I should call it, but it doesn’t feel that way—on nothing whatsoever. This is a device that truly earns the name “cloud,” for it makes me feel as if I am floating.
Merely going offline to write on a small-batch smart typewriter will hardly change the aesthetics of reading and writing. Nobody writes without cribbing.
Freewrite, a usable writing device that’s also a critique of the system of writing itself.
There’s an old aphorism about writing that goes: Real writers write with the mind, not with the fingers. Actually it’s not an old aphorism, I just made it up right now and I can’t check if anyone’s said something similar because I left my phone in the house. But out here, sitting on the lawn with the Freewrite in my lap, the sun peering in and out of the clouds, I can almost believe that I might yet write with my head—or even with my soul. This is a soulful gadget, and in this time of dumb smartwhatevers, even if that’s all it is wouldn’t it be enough?
Back at the computer, I retrieve, assemble, and edit my Freewrite drafts into this article. The copy is a hot mess: full of typos I didn’t bother to backspace and correct, split across a handful of weirdly-named files, tiny and unstyled on-screen, pock-marked with double-hyphens and straight-quotes. The drunken feeling has worn off but, the words still feel like the ones you write when drunk.
The Freewrite offers another model: one where writing becomes an activity that has computers in it, rather than an activity that takes place inside computers. Maybe—hopefully—this is the future. And not just for writing, but for everything else, too.
I have no idea what’s going on.
But if I was going to guess: I’d say that the Internet connected the whole world, and we slowly collectively realised we had a 5k year hangover.
We haven’t yet processed the impact or implications of writing as a medium.
Original Tweet: https://twitter.com/thejaymo/status/1029470859478659073
Fabiana Cecin (@fabianacecin) tweeted at 7:43 AM – 18 Nov 2018 :
Writing is a pain in the ass. Most of the time there is no way I’m taking stuff out of my head and successfully translating it to an essay. In the end it is just the easy stuff that I can translate to writing. (http://twitter.com/fabianacecin/status/1064167210392858625?s=17)
thinking.. got to be a better way to communicate.. because we’re missing so much.. not to mention all the people that don’t write anything .. because they can’t or they don’t feel like they can.. so much left inside/unsaid/unwritten/unwritable –
beyond words et al
David Wengrow (@davidwengrow) tweeted at 6:33 PM on Fri, Jan 04, 2019:
There is no known writing system anywhere in the world before around 3300 BC.
David Wengrow (@davidwengrow) tweeted at 7:05 AM – 5 Jan 2019 :
These topics should be accessible but why not take on board something of the last 30 years’ research? Writing was not initially invented to represent speech, and did not evolve from crude “pictograms.” Pre-literate societies were neither childlike nor stupid. https://t.co/VDswM6tQ2e (http://twitter.com/davidwengrow/status/1081552359971536896?s=17)
(on writing) – the ‘spiritualism of the state’
in the story of enmerkar, composes 1000 yrs after the invention of the cuneiform script.. writing is invented.. because king’s speech is too long for his messenger to remember.. given our modern reliance on writing to convey language at a distance, we might find this a plausible context for the origins of writing itself; but we would be wrong..
the earliest cuneiform inscriptions are in fact made up largely of ideograms; graphic symbols that rep ideas rather than units of language .. they are usually combined w numerical metrological symbols and among them we find signs for wide range of domestic animals…birds, fish , plants, stones, metal, textiles, dairy products, and professional roles and titles.. but the structural arrangement of these signs does not follow the linear structure of natural speech, and was never intended to do so.. instead it uses a visual format attuned to mathematical notation, dividing the surface of the tablet into boxes arranged in vertical columns each containing a combo of ideograms and numerals..
this is readily explained by the bureaucratic, bookkeeping functions that cuneiform writing was originally designed to fulfill.. the ‘muse’ which inspired its inventors was not epic poetry song, or royal decrees, but not the no less compelling language of commodity flows, into and out of the great households of the earliest cities.. the subsequent adaptation of cuneiform writing to pre the grammar and syntax of spoken language, and eventually to recored lit, took centuries to unfold..
oy.. yeah figured.
karl marx described bureaucracy as ‘the spiritualism of the state’ creating carefully patrolled domain of phantom entities – signs that stand for beings and things – to exist alongside real people/objects. the earliest written signs were of precisely this nature, standing in for concrete things rather than units of speech, and signifying their changing relationships w/in a closed system where number, order, and rank were the only significant dimensions of value.. .. the emergence of writing had a similarly close relationship w the world of commodities.. as in meso, script invention was tied to the standardization of material goods, and to the adoption of specialized marking systems – to classify and differentiate types of produce.. most of the earliest known hieroglyphic inscription relate in one way or another to the differentiation and ranking of consumables.. served to ascribe special origins .. in egypt the development of these marking systems was directly associated w the org and performance of elite funerary rituals, in which vast quantities of wealth were taken out of circulation to furnish the tombs of deceased kings and courtiers: a striking case of bureaucracy in the service of sacrifice..
in order for such parallel worlds of admin rep to function, real objects and sentient beings also had to undergo a degree of change in the direction of uniformity: one vessel, unit of metal, or head of cattle the same as another..
the great number of non numerical signs in the early cuneiform corpus from uruk indicates strong cultural resistance to the imposition of such a rigid scheme of order.. but the turn towards standardization nevertheless had far reaching effects upon meso econ and society
Harold Jarche (@hjarche) tweeted at 6:18 AM – 17 Jan 2019 :
Writing started us down an unequal and mostly patriarchal road that dominated most of the world into the age of print. Will the network age retrieve some of the egalitarianism of tribal societies? https://t.co/G37b7IpaU9https://t.co/Nre63Y9cBW(http://twitter.com/hjarche/status/1085889075121254400?s=17)
..it was changes in how we communicate that triggered changes in how we organize. .Perhaps it was not agriculture but the written word that allowed for more command & control and therefore less equal societies.
descola control law – control of stock .. control of communication
Will our future leaders be those who exert influence through reputation and not positional power, as those honourably-buried ancients in Sungir may have done so long ago?
when we look at the earliest ie’s of the written word, however, we see it being used mostly to assert power and control….for first 500 years after its invention in mesopotamia, writing was used exclusively to help kings and priests keep track of the grain and labor they controlled.. whenever writing appeared it was accompanies by war and slavery.. for all the benes of written word,s it is also responsible for replacing an embodied, experiential culture w an abstract, administrative one..
gutenberg printing press extended reach/accessibility of written word and promised a new era of literacy and expression.. but the presses were tightly controlled by monarchs, who were well aware of what happens when people begin reading one another’ book. . instead of promoting new culture of ideas, the printing press reinforced control from the top
once under the control of elites, almost any new medium starts to turn people’s attention away form one another and toward higher authorities.. this makes is easier for people to see other people as less than humanand to commit previously unthinkable acts of violence..
the invention of writing gave people the ability to record the past and make promises into the future.. historical time was born, which marked the end of the spirituality of an eternal present, and the beginning of linear religion and monotheism
y: there’s a great danger in the way we’re going.. part of the reason things have developed this way has to do w the division of labor.. more convenient for me to go out and cut trees/hung while women were nursing.. so women’s voice became a voiceless voice.. men believe in verbalizing things. men believe in mediums such as writing. women did go into writing as well, but they believe more in a sort of psychic means of communication.. now they’re trying to do things the way men do , which is a pretty dangerous way. it’s a healthy change in the sense that they’re not just sitting in a rut, that we are trying, exploring new fields.. but there are dangers.. that we become men, we become the macho society..
w ie: pics on money.. et al
j: i know that comparison is odious .. and comparison w the so called black movement are even more odious.. but this is a little like the first black awakening,. first, there was a tendency to imitate whitey and straighten the hair and things like that.. and suddenly they thought, wha the hell are we doing.. we have to be ourselves.
y: (on .. shall we send sean to school or not).. i don’t suppose there’s any reason to send him because he should pick up language/writing and all that when he wants to .. in fact, children who stay w/o the knowledge of writing for a long time become more psychic.. so there is that too.
j: remain more psychic
y: right.. remain..
from lewis mumford’s myth of machine:
viewed from our present tech perspective, the passage to ‘civilization’ is hard to interpret. while no single tech facto marked the transition .. yet.. ‘civilization’ from the beginning was focussed on the machine; and it will help us to understand what was new in the post neolithic technics, if we place the new inventions side by side, along w the institutional controls that they demanded. we shall then see how the might of an invisible machine anticipated the machine itself..
it was in the orderly exercise of this (wider public org) over-all control by the temple and the palace that writing was first invented, to keep account of quantities of produce received or disbursed. the political agents that collected/distributed the grain could control the entire population
thru the army, in fact, the standard model of the megamachine was transmitted form culture to culture..
if one single invention was necessary to make this larger mech operative for constructive tasks as well as for coercion, it was probably the invention of writing.. this this method of translating speech into graphic record not merely made it possible to transmit impulses and messages throughout the system, but to fix accountability when written orders were not carried out. accountability and the written word both went along historically w the control of large numbers; and it is no accident that the earliest uses of writing were not to convey ideas religious or otherwise, but to keep temple records of grain, cattle, pottery, fabricated goods, stored and disbursed..
interesting this is all people want to do w blockchain as well.. no?