Type: Exploratory
Pages: 2 | Words: 559
Reading Time: 3 Minutes

While reading his essay, it occurred to me that Walter Ong experienced profound overview of historical phases and recollections with special attention to shift from orality to literacy. In ancient Greece the hapless traveler Odysseus served a strategy to preserve information by means of stylized model in a rhymed singing or “anything to make it easy to call back” to be transmitted through generations. Writing technology having become available and widely spread transmitting methods should not adhere strictly to the information arrangement format but instead of accenting on mnemonical passing manners most attention may be paid to a more deep and between-the-lines mode of information management. While researching his text Writing is a Technology That Restructures Thought, I realized that living in a literate society we can’t help following the pre-set way of thought structurisation, the way that oral societies did not experience at all: “fact that we do not commonly feel the influence of writing on our thoughts shows that we have interiorized the technology of writing so deeply that without tremendous effort we cannot separate it from ourselves or even recognize its presence and influence” (Page #). So this particular fenomena are under my consideration.

Deep psychological analysis is where Ong makes me admire his essay. Passage 4 is very special to me as it seems to be the key to understanding the exact mechanism of mental evolution. Indeed, “Primary oral culture also keeps its thinking close to the human life world, personalizing things and issues” (Page #1) and thinking and operating with stored units, just keeping them remembered is the approach that does not that make a human intelligent. The writer persuades us that in a primitive oral culture a person’s mind “can operate with exquisite skill in the world of sounds, events, evanescences”, something like having a scientific information stored without any discussions or conclusions made. Even here I feel oral culture’s attempt to customize as they start “storing knowledge in stories”. Ong goes further here with his statement “Categoriesare unstable mnemonically” emphasizing that an object having been displayed in our brain it can’t help but be categorized and proceed. Here, within the oral culture we come to a conclusion that “Exploratory thinking is not unknown, but it is relatively rare”. Indeed, why would an exploration take place if all energies are to be spared on storing and recollecting the data for the offsprings in a constant form. It looks like that “Everybody, or almost everybody, must repeat and repeat and repeat”. Should the fear for the ancestors’ truth to be damaged disappear, as it happens in a writing society, we face with the strategy of integrating, processing, combining, modificating, and, in short, evolution into a dynamic out of a static mode.

Had literacy been a simple “˜can read and write’ one would with no doubt accept that there are probably no illiterates in our high-technology culture left. Cell phone typing and e-mail, internet stuff buying and shop advertisement consideration is nothing but mechanical reading or writing. But the point is that being literate means to be something more, like hearing music and making out plot of an overture makes a difference. Being literate would call for arranged skills that in turn necessitate thoughts to be structured. Thus, mechanistically simplified approach to literacy ignores important mental activities and consciousness that are obligatory to be taken into account.

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