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Holding On to RealityThe Nature of Information at the Turn of the Millennium$
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Albert Borgmann

Print publication date: 1999

Print ISBN-13: 9780226066257

Published to Chicago Scholarship Online: March 2013

DOI: 10.7208/chicago/9780226066226.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM CHICAGO SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.chicago.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright University of Chicago Press, 2019. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in CHSO for personal use.date: 21 October 2019

The Rise of Literacy

The Rise of Literacy

Chapter:
(p.47) Chapter Five The Rise of Literacy
Source:
Holding On to Reality
Publisher:
University of Chicago Press
DOI:10.7208/chicago/9780226066226.003.0006

Writing has been taken to imbalance the ancestral ways of knowing, but signs and things keep a fine balance in the natural economy of information. Writing allows an endless accumulation of information, and unchecked accumulation leads from eloquence to confusion. Writing has a precision and permanence that human recollection widely shared but cannot match. When literacy occupies an oral culture, it depletes vitality from the community. Literacy can be liberating because the detached information of writing is more widely and easily available than natural or oral information. Writing not only brings near what is distant in time and space, but also allows to realize what otherwise is prohibitively remote as a possibility of conception and imagination.

Keywords:   writing, economy of information, accumulation, oral culture, oral information

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