chapter  2
14 Pages

Writing, Printing, and Thinking

BySteven Starker

The ability to store and communicate information via the written word undoubtedly made possible the rapid advance of civilization. Before writing, people depended upon the spoken word, aided by gestures, to communicate with one another. Like alphabetic writing, printing also had profound psychological consequences. The invention and subsequent development of printing marked a turning point in the history of civilization, the beginning of an educated and literate public. In committing themselves to the phonetic alphabet, the Greeks had begun to train themselves and their children in linear, sequential thinking in order that letters and words might properly be organized to create meanings. The phonetic alphabet required a new way of processing and manipulating information, a new mode of thought. The profound effects of the alphabet on the Greeks may be one of the best examples of how media influences mind.