When Books Were Technology

In a world of exponential technological growth, inventions from the past can sometimes be perceived as a common thing from nature. Books in particular, have been with us for so many centuries that we often forget they are one of the most important pieces of technology ever created.

The greatest contributor to books in the spanish language from the last century by using these to artistically express himself (just like games exploit computers for that very same expressive purpose and in many languages as well (C, Actionscript or Java)) was, without any doubt, Jorge Luis Borges. Few like him make me feel proud of the nationality I never chose.

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A particular short essay from him got my attention a few weeks ago. In his book Other Inquisitions he explores the birth of reading, he reminds the reader that back in the egyptian times books were received with reactionary comments, for them, they were “like painted figures that seem alive but never answer a single question asked to them” and they eventually provoke that “people stop using their memory and become dependant on symbols”.

The voice, in all cultures, was regarded as a sacred sound that had more power than symbols themselves. Reading was always a communal excercise were one read for the others to hear.

Borges finally recalls a writing from Saint Augustine from the 2nd century were he witnesses that precise moment when man seemed to begin reading in silence:

When Ambrosio read, he passed his view over the pages penetrating their soul, in the sense, of not conveying a single word nor even moving the tongue.

We already know how computers are changing our culture and  law as we know it. How is it changing our minds?

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4 Responses

  1. […] unknown wrote an interesting post today onHere’s a quick excerptThe greatest contributor to books in the spanish language from the last century by using these to artistically express himself (just like games exploit computers for that very same expressive purpose and in many languages as well (C, … […]

  2. will wrigth made a similar metaphor to this post in a recent lecture. very interesting, maybe he is also reading this blog.

    http://news.spong.com/article/14123

  3. Wow, it does seem like Will has been told the same story.. I’ve got to meet him a couple times on the GDC, he’s definitely the smartest guy alive that’s making games.

  4. […] http://gamesareart.com You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site. RSS […]

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