I wrote a letter today. A hand-written, from the soul, letter where I cried from nearly start to finish. I put my heart in it. I laid my mind bare. (Good news, it paid off!)
I did it because I felt the need to make a statement. I needed the person on the other end of that letter to know how I felt, and I meant it, dammit.
Why does this matter?
Because I didn’t type it.
I didn’t know how to start this post, so I picked up that letter I wrote, (the person kept it) for some spark to help me write. I almost started crying again. I could feel the emotion seeping from the written letters, crawling through the space between the words. And it hit me.
Communication began because one person wanted someone else to understand what they were thinking. Maybe even someone special. Spoken communication started a whole new world in respect to our historical record. Pre-history is a specific and singular way to study humanity, its origins, and its evolution. Because of my study of rhetoric and communication, this establishes a definite and decisive role in the human experience. Communication signifies power. The more communication available, the greater the possibilities:
- Speech communication: civilizations form → power of numbers
- Written communication: manuscripts composed → power of expression
- Print communication: mass media produced → power of knowledge
- Technological communication: global connectivity possible → power of infinitude
The evolution of human communication is astounding and exciting in its implications for advancement. But..(there’s always a but, right?) as we progress through these stages, what do we lose? As written culture seized power, something was lost of the magic of stories telling the origins of families, peoples, worlds, and faiths. As printing became popular, something was lost of the reverence of putting pen to paper. As technology takes power, the loss is completely different, completely individual, and completely…complete.
Technology has become the norm, it is not seen as a novelty, or an extra. It’s everywhere, and it’s always. I’m using it right now, I used it five minutes ago when I checked a text message on my phone then Facebook. I’m using it indirectly watching my boyfriend play football on his ps4. Technology surrounds us, and it consumes us.
It consumes us in that, you know those people who post personal statuses on social media 20 times before lunch . You know those people who complain they can’t get anything done because they’re on Facebook/Twitter/Instagram 24/7. We all know those people, and at some point we all have problems with how much they loooooooovvvvvve the Internet.
Think about how the Internet and technology came to be though, think about what it is. It’s a machine. Machines are cold, lifeless, detached. What we see on the screen is a result of a complicated pattern of zeroes and ones.
Writing your most personal feelings down, feeling the indentations in the paper, and handing it over to someone worthy of seeing your effort. It’s intimate, not cold. It’s organic, not machanic. It’s a whole new world, but it’s all just words.
“I love you” on a screen means something, “I love you” in all the ways and reasons that they do, in the handwriting of the person that you love…well that’s everything.
So write me a letter…