Why is it that important to learn to hold a pen?

9 Feb

What would be humans’ greatest invention? Would it be computers? Certainly computers are the most exciting and astonishing creations the human mind has ever imagined, but a deeper look at their structures would reveal that they are not interesting at all. Combining electric cells and developing software may even seem childish, as engineers claim that these devices are nothing but a pale copy of our brain.

As many anthropologists and social scientists have been asked this question, most, if not all, agreed that the invention of writing has been of a greater effect on human history. You may not feel its power while you are holding a pen and struggling with a blank page, but it took fifteen thousand years for our ancestors to finally develop the faculty to print their thoughts on paper. Indeed, not only thoughts but also knowledge, literature, laws, dreams and expectations, fears and passions would not be kept and not been able to travel throughout ages, if an ancestral farmer has not got the brilliant idea of recording his belongings on a granite sheet.

As the idea migrated to Ancient Egypt, the necessity of keeping traces of every transaction throughout the vast territories of the Egyptian Empire led to the emergence of the scribes as the only eligible persons to write down the Pharaonic affairs. This social class was not only asked to manage the whole nation’s business, but was actually considered as the guardians of knowledge. While the academic community is involved in controversial debates whether or not scribes were to be considered as a sect that retained knowledge, one can only be impressed by their tremendous power and implication in Ancient Egypt’s social life, easily be noticeable through the hieroglyphic drawings in Ancient temples.

In the Middle Ages, illiteracy was everyone’s situation. Excluded from the political scene within totalitarian monarchies, their only salvation was the invention of the press by Gutenberg. Millions of copies of the Bible were firstly made, followed by a huge amount of books and articles that helped the dissemination of knowledge. In the Enlightenment, philosophers such as Rousseau, Hobbes, Locke and Montesquieu among others, not only devoted their lives to opening people’s eyes but also contributed to the elevation of the human mind to higher ideals. The World witnessed in 1789 the “Declaration of the Rights of Men” after the French Revolution which, by the way, had been written. From that moment, writing became synonymous with a seal of authenticity, and the long sheet of the declaration where the words have been printed prove it.

Nowadays, writing appears as the reflection of one’s ideas. But can you believe that all of this has been achieved because of this small thing you hold in hand? Pens are not lifeless objects. A red pen is often associated with an authoritarian professor, and a repeatedly red-corrected paper can only mean that you will receive an unpleasant mark. When you were in primary school, you were certainly used to compile differently coloured pens, while, as a university student, you cannot afford yourself more than two different pencils, arguing that it may seem disrespectful to hand in rainbow-like term papers. Pens are the expressions of our personalities, just think about it and you will see how wonderful is the feeling to hold one, as it offers you the power to create your own world.

How would the world be without the alphabet? Imagine how school would be pointless without the support of our lectures, how communications would be impossible if speaking was not learned with a pen and a piece of paper. What a world that would be, so divided and so silent!

A small video for those who have never learned how to hold a pen…

By a big Penlover

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