Feeling lazy this week. DAN RATHER wrote this. He said it better than I could have anyway…
I share this article because I find it interesting, informative, and because in the end I beg to differ.
I understand all the points the author makes. She makes them well and her forthcoming book on handwriting sounds very interesting. Perhaps it’s my age, my being a creature of habit, but I feel that she misses one of the essential elements of writing words on paper – the beauty of channeling the mystery of thought, through the mechanics of muscle, into the tangible reality of seeing inked letters on a physical surface. And cursive adds to this process a sense of beauty.
To me this isn’t about the dubious effects of improved mental or small muscle development. It is something essential to being human, to leaving a physical mark of our thoughts. It is what channeled the prehistoric cave painters, the etched hieroglyphics, and anyone who has carved initials into a tree.
Yes we live in a digital age, with electronic redundancies and back up. But just like the vinyl record has clawed its way back from extinction into a small but vibrant niche, I see a purpose for the handwritten thought into the future. There are many utilitarian reasons to not spend precious class time on handwriting. And I know many people who now write better channeling thought directly to keyboard. It is faster and more efficient. No doubt. But from my conversations on this topic, I know that those same people feel different when they sit down to write something physically. It’s not a substitute, it’s an alternate experience.
To lay out a beautifully-rendered note card or fine stationary and gather one’s thoughts to a loved one or friend in times of joy and sorrow, favorite pen in hand, considering where in the paper you will cast your first stroke, is to experience something special. And I hope we do not deny future generations these sublime moments. To me they are a quintessential part of the human experience.
I have saved many a letter from friends and family – some written in a fine hand, some quite sloppy, but most of them seem more personal, more connected then a the product of a computer printer.
Call me old fashioned. Call me out of touch. I call it human and I want to hold on to it.
I would be curious of your thoughts.