The end of handwriting?

In The Guardian this week, Stuart Jeffries asks whether writing by hand will become a lost art, as technology increasingly enables us to communicate without it.

He passes on a bit of history along the way. For example, the Sumarian merchants invented a script 5000 years ago, using “a stylus and wet clay to record the ingredients for beer.” Notes Jeffries, “The endlessly inventive outpouring of human writing thus grew out of commercial necessity.”

Perhaps that observation holds the secret to whether handwriting will die. Does it have, today, any commercial necessity?

[tags] handwriting [/tags]

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5 Responses to The end of handwriting?

  1. IB Perfect says:

    Yes.

    To write out scripts and sell them to the people who don’t have…hands. Then the people who don’t have hands will use the scripts to brag that they have just magically written the scripts themselves, using mind power.

    lol

    Hmm, seriously, handwriting is still every popular in the Far East. Schoolchildren in China and Japan are very well taught the art of calligraphy. In the Chinese and Japanese cultures, this art is seen as characterising one’s personality, so therefore one’s handwriting/calligraphy is very important there.

    One commercial necessity (perhaps?) is that some people write on their tablet PCs. This shows that technology is still limited. It has not enabled us to write using our minds. Hence, we still write with a pen, albeit not on sheets of paper, but on the screen.

    Nice use of “question-at-the-end-of-post” trick, kirsten! I’m looking forwards to more posts like this! :P

  2. Kirsten says:

    One commercial necessity (perhaps?) is that some people write on their tablet PCs. This shows that technology is still limited. It has not enabled us to write using our minds. Hence, we still write with a pen, albeit not on sheets of paper, but on the screen.

    I thought about this too, IB! Text recognition technology . . . I guess the question is whether writing by hand is more efficient than typing.

    In my day job, I now type almost exclusively. When I interview someone for background for a story, I used to take notes in longhand. Now I type the notes as I conduct the interview — I’m able to keep up better and also to read my notes better afterward. But with my novels, I have to begin them in long hand. For some reason, sitting with a notebook away from my computer is more conducive to imagining characters and scenes . . .

  3. IB Perfect says:

    The opposite for me. lol

    I am more productive on the computer than elsewhere. That’s probably a direct result of many years of participating on forums (philosophyforum, galilean-library, freethought forum, ebla forum, ilovephilosophy, e-philosopher, physics forum, etc.). Also, as I type fast I can record ideas quickly before they slip off my mind.

    I only handwrite in classes, to take notes, and to write exams. Also, I have handwritten several voluminous personal notebooks (all of them to record things I observe, thoughts, ideas, philosophical propositions, inspirations, symbols, etc.) I don’t know whether i should switch to using tablet PC to record those kinds of notes, though…But that, I think, would be un-Da-Vincian! :P

    Just some chattering on a Saturday afternoon…(supposed to be writing lectures for General Philosophy 1, but I’m waiting for inspiration to do that…)

  4. Kirsten says:

    I can do some things better when staring at a computer screen, also. But it’s interesting that you handwrite in notebooks as well. There is something about the warmth of writing by hand . . .

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