Cave drawings to pen and ink to emojis
Pen and Ink
To record, transcribe, and show to others our thoughts is a human impulse as old as the species. From the drawings on a cave wall to a Beethoven symphony; from a grocery list to The Declaration of Independence; the mental and manual skill we call writing has been our tool to capture, to record, to hold onto, to pass to others, the thoughts in our mind.
Somewhere in our history, a sharp instrument to spread a liquid became the tool, and the pen and ink combination was born. That evolved over time, as did the complexity of the thoughts we wished to express. Writing became a necessary life skill. Vocabulary, grammar, punctuation were all part of the skill set we used to transmit from one mind to another. But at bottom lies pen and ink. We reach for it automatically many times a day. Use of pen and ink was so important that it became an art form. We called it ‘penmanship’ and the physical beauty of the words on the page had value. The pen was the tool that allowed the depth and breadth of our collective mind to evolve almost without limit.
Then came the typewriter, the keyboard, the touchscreen; 140 characters, icons, emojis; finger taps and thumb presses. Full sentences or perhaps a paragraph to express joy or happiness have been replaced by LOL and a smiley face.
Which brings me to this final question. As the physical skill of putting pen to paper atrophies in favor of thumb presses, will our mental skill devolve to 140 characters and emojis? If we go back to cave drawings, will our minds go too?
Word Count: 275