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CMNS 110 (282)
Lecture 3

Week 3 Reading Notes

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CMNS 110
Gary Mc Carron

CMNS 110 – WEEK 3 READINGS The Persistence of the Word by James Gleick (pp. 256-268) Walter Ong – Jesuit priest, philosopher, cultural historian - Declared the electronic age to be a new age of orality; “secondary orality” with radio, telephone and television The written word is the mechanism by which we know what we know. Writing – requires premeditation and special art - When word is instantiated onto paper, it takes on a separate existence as artifice - A product of tools, and is a tool - Helps retain information across time and space - Enables re-use and re-collection - An intrusion into culture; laid the basis for the destruction of the oral way of life and oral modes of thought Plato said writing will produce forgetfulness of minds. - Writing is an elixir not of memory, but of reminding - Offers pupils the appearance of wisdom, not true wisdom - External characters which are no part themselves o Written word seemed insincere o Appeared to draw knowledge away from the person o Separated the speaker from the listener by miles or years o One can speak to many; dead to living, living to unborn Pictographic – writing the picture Ideographic – writing the idea Logographic – writing the word Logic – descended from the written word - Does exist without writing - Turns the act of abstraction into a tool for determining what is true and what is false Marshall McLuhan – famous spokesman for bygone oral culture - New electric age as the return to the roots of human creativity - Revival of old orality Monochronic and Polychronic Time by Edward T. Hall (pp. 42-49) Complex societies organize time in at least 2 different ways: 1. Monochronic – events scheduled as separate items – one thing at a time (North European) 2. Polychronic – involvement in several things at once (Mediterranean) Polychronic Time (P-time) Monochronic Time (M-time) - Stresses the involvement of people and - Tend to make a fetish out of management completion of transactions rather than - Life in general is at times are unpredictable adherence to preset schedules
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