What is writing? Writing is art and a means of communication. Humans have always felt the need to communicate and writing is one of the many means that we have at our disposal. Before the advent of paper, people write on walls, on stones, wood, trees, and other mediums there were available to them. Today we have papers, pens, pencils, iPad, iPhone, Chalk, White Board, Black Board, computers, etc. The list is long but the aim remains the same. We want to communicate. We feel we have something to say and to share. Writing our thoughts is also part of the healing process and getting to know ourselves better. There are things we feel we can communicate better by writing. When we read other people's thoughts through their writings, we feel a sense of connection with them. That is a feeling that words alone cannot convey. The beauty of writing is how it last for generations, it not only tells a story but teach us about the past and helps us understand the future.
In our quest to write we have used technology as a means. The ancient Egyptians were masters when it comes to writing. They took the time to write about their victories, their gods, their daily activities, their enemies and the afterlife. Their writings gave us an insight into what it was like to live thousands of years ago. A lot of us have heard about the hieroglyphics. What is it? It is a writing form developed thousands of years ago by the Egyptians. "It contained a combination of logographic and alphabetic elements" - wikipedia. The interesting thing about the hieroglyphics was the way they combine pictorials form to create their alphabets. The library of Alexandria was a testimony to the importance the Egyptians gave to writing. The Egyptians also developed papyrus so people could write on them to facilitate the mobility of their writings.
The Rosetta Stone is very famous stone not only for its size but also for the writing on the stone. It was discovered years ago and it helped researcher understand Egyptian writings.The Ancient Israelites or the Hebrews as they are also known were an educated nation. They were taught to read and write from an early age. Children would often go to the synagogues from the age of 6 to about 13 to learn the scriptures. At that time they used what was commonly known as the scroll. This technique was later surpassed by the codex. Which is the form of book binding that is used today. The most famous writing the Hebrews had was the 10 commandments that was said to have been writing by the hand of God. Moses the mediator broke the first two tablet. He had to go back to the mountain and get new ones from the Lord. These writings were the foundation and laws of the nation. Everyone had to adhere to them. These two stone tablets contained the following commandments:
- thou shall have no other gods before Me
- thou shall not make for yourself a carved image any likeness of anything that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth
- thou shall not take the name of the Lord your God in vain
- Remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy.'
- Honor your father and your mother.'
- thou shall not murder.'
- thou shall not commit adultery
- thou shall not steal
- thou shall not bear false witness against your neighbor
- thou shall not covet your neighbor's house; thou shall not covet your neighbor's wife, nor his male servant, nor his female servant, nor his ox, nor his donkey, nor anything that is your neighbor's
Until recently it has been thought that some primitive tribes do not have any form of written communication. Researchers have subsequently discovered in caves, drawings and writings that show that these tribes had their own form of written language.
In today's world, it is easier to learn to read and write as the mediums are plentiful and affordable. For example, those who are partially sighted or blind could only communicate through speech. Braille was later developed, it has made it possible for the blind to be able to read and write. The need to write has been in the forefront of new techniques and we have come a long way from the days of writing on stones. We have made progress and we now use what we consider to be advanced technology.
Is it really true that we no longer write on stones? Not quite! Take for example, tombstone. We've even taken our need to write beyond the grave. A tombstone is not complete without some form of writing. You will expect to see the name, age and loving words from family members. Tombstone are also a lesson in history. You learn from the writings what type of people lived there, the mortality rate per year and the correlation between female and male mortality. You can also learn about the child mortality rate. The Vietnam Memorial Wall in Washington DC is another example of writing on stones. This highlights the fact that there are things that cannot be replaced. Engraved writings on tombstone have been known to last hundreds of years. That also explains why the Rosetta Stone and other archeological findings are well preserved.
Before the days of Microsoft Word, the scribes who had the task of copying bible manuscripts had to be meticulous in their work. Once a scroll has been copied, they would have to count every word and compare the copy to the original. If an error is found the copy is destroyed. At that time you cannot press "backspace" or "delete". It was all or nothing. Thankfully we don't have to go through the same process today.
We have come a long way from the earlier writings. It shows that the basic human need to write and communicate is universal. What will future generations think about computers and all the gadgets that are now available to us? 100 years from now, will future generations be intrigued as we are about past writing techniques? Will the mediums that we use now be considered archaic and primitive? Only time will tell, but something is sure, we shall never stop writing. We shall continue to look for other mediums on which to write. Expressing ourselves through writing has being an intrinsic part of the human experience. Writing is part of who we are and how we communicate. Long live the human race, long live the "written words"