THE FUTURE OF WRITING-VILEM FLUSSER
Flusser’s essay is looking at illiteracy,from an unusual aspect. The idea that writing is moving towards 2-dimensional form, a world codified in pictures. This adds to the problem of illiteracy because people who already can’t read or write texts, are therefore unable to conceptualise the world they live in.They now have an added problem, the reading of images that don’t allow you to think because imagery is already explicit. Ideas and meanings are transparent. This is insidious, as meanings are taken at face value and never questioned. Power is taken away from someone who is illiterate in that they will never ask why? Because they neither have the capability nor develop the curiosity to look beyond the image or text. What does this mean? Learning becomes circular, someone tells you something, you tell them the same thing in return, people will be unable to move beyond that. This is the underlying problem of illiteracy, its not ‘stretching’minds of people.Their thoughts and sense of self instead become carbon copies of the 2-dimensional imagery of their world.
What was surprising to me was that the act of reading and writing had its own history, it had developed from pictures drawn on caves or temporarily in sand. This is what Flusser referred to as ‘Pre-history’, man in early history trying to make sense of the world he lived in. But also these images were used also to appease the gods that controlled the world he lived in. In this period of ‘Pre-history’ man became the tool of nature. He was expected to take care and be aware of the land, to be able to survive in it.
Imagery developed into ‘historical consciousness’. That is images became markings these markings developed into writing. These developments made man thoughtful.Pictures that were once drawn on caves, transferred into words because pictures could no longer express or conceptualise man’s thinking. This historical consciousness separated man from the land. The land became mythology, words created by man now more powerful than the land.
These grand developments created an elitist race of people. It became a way to exclude people. They were the ones with the economic advantage…