Thursday, December 17, 2009

a life beyond nostalgia

Anne Trubek on the death of handwriting:

The moral of this story is not that typing is superior to handwriting, that parents should have to transcribe the stories of their offspring or that private schools are superior to public ones. The moral of the story is that what we want from writing — what Simon wants and what the Sumerians wanted — is cognitive automaticity, the ability to think as fast as possible, freed as much as can be from the strictures of whichever technology we must use to record our thoughts. As Wolf writes: "A system that can become streamlined through specialization and automaticity has more time to think. This is the miraculous gift of the reading brain." This is what Palmer wanted for his students — speed. This is what the typewriter promised Twain. This is what typing does for millions. It allows us to go faster, not because we want everything faster in our hyped-up age, but for the opposite reason: We want more time to think.

Related, a student brings a typewriter to class (via Open Culture).