The Pen was mightier than the sword

Categories: Ramblings
Comments: No Comments
Published on: July 18, 2004

The pen was mightier than the sword once. The pen was a metaphor for power. Those who wielded the pen wielded not just now but forever. The cuts it made had an immortality, or at least longevity as long as the paper remained. The pen represented the flow of will from the writer to his audience in the same way as the sword represented the flow of will from wielder to enemy. Both served as ways to try and change the behaviour of another person.

From the brain to the arm to the hand to the business edge, delivering ink onto writing surface. The pen and paper offer us endless possibilities. A pen can be used to write in any language, using any script. We can use it to draw.

Using a pen is simple, almost as intuitive as using a knife. We can forget about the technology and just watch the ink slide onto the paper leaving behind the result of our efforts.

After thousands of years of using writing implements, the demand for distributing many copies of the same piece of writing created a more industrial tool – the printing press begat the typewriter, the photocopier and ultimately the personal computer with desktop publishing software.
With each development came an increased burden of technological knowledge. In order to use the communication device technical knowledge and skill had to be acquired. With each extra technical skill and piece of knowledge came an opportunity for distraction. This did exist with pens – quills needed cutting, fountain pens needed filling and cleaning and blotting. Typewriters jam, photocopiers need refilling with toner. And computers connected to the internet offer so many possibilities to do anything but write.

I feel the need to return to the pen, even though I can write, sorry, type more quickly and neatly. It is easier to store things neatly on a hard drive than in folders which open suddenly spilling out un-numbered pages…

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