Support First Things by turning your adblocker off or by making a  donation. Thanks!

Is handwriting a dying technology? Anne Trubek explores that possibility and explains why it may not matter:

If we define writing as a system of marks to record information (and discount petroglyphs, say), handwriting has been around for just 6,000 of humanity’s some 200,000 years. Its effects have been enormous, of course: It alters the brain, changes with civilizations, cultures and factions, and plays a role in religious and political battles. Throughout the even smaller slice of time that is American history, handwriting has reflected national aspirations. The comments posted on my article about handwriting were teeming with moralism. (“I’m sorry, but when I see messy handwriting it tells me something about the person; maybe carelessness? Impatience? . . . Penmanship is everything. . . . Good penmanship shows the world we are civilized.”) One might consider handwriting as a technology — a way to make letters — and conclude that the way of making them is of little moment. But handwriting is bound up with a host of associations and connotations that propel it beyond simply a fine-motor skill. We connect it to personal identity (handwriting signals something unique about each of us), intelligence (good handwriting reflects good thinking) and virtue (a civilized culture requires handwriting).

Most of us know, but often forget, that handwriting is not natural. We are not born to do it. There is no genetic basis for writing. Writing is not like seeing or talking, which are innate. Writing must be taught.

Read more . . .

(Via: Next Nature )

Comments are visible to subscribers only. Log in or subscribe to join the conversation.



Filter First Thoughts Posts

Related Articles