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Writing As Thing And Event Essay

1120 words - 4 pages

The average person does not give much thought to the way we perceive speaking and writing: event or thing? Writing and speaking It is so innate, or as Ong says of writing “deeply interiorized” in most of us that we use these methods of communication every day without considering what it means for how we communicate and even perceive ourselves and others. Ong describes writing itself as a technology which changes how we look at words in general whether spoken or written. These ideas can particularly be applied to computers and internet technology as methods of communication.
Ong makes the statement that writing is a thing as opposed to an event. Writing seems to be an extension of speech that makes it more permanent. To Ong speech is ephemeral and fleeting. Once something is spoken it is gone, an event past. Speech when put into words takes on a physicality, as a thing and thus permanency. Spoken words end and can be later forgotten. Written words can last as long as the material that holds them but the form of words as speech can only last as long as the words speaker issues them..
While Ong makes the the claim that the writing is not an event the claim can also be supported that both the written word and speech are events. Both communicate something in a certain place and time though their permanency is certainly different. To support that speech is an event Ong later makes the statement that speech is produced in a certain time, addressed by and for living persons, because the setting is “more than a context of words.” Writing has these characteristics as well, however, though Ong makes the distinction that writers must fictionalize an audience and a setting which disputes the claim that writing is an event. However, this is not a satisfactory dispute, each time something is read that writing is an event. The action of writing itself is an event to be interpreted and dissected in each context in which it happens to be disseminated. The written word lasts longer and can be preserved as a physical thing but that does not take away its characteristics of being an event. The meaning of the words in this instance is also something to take into account. The meaning of words can change with different contexts, yet the transition from speech to writing does not produce that change. A speech by Martin Luther King Jr. as a physical document still has the same purpose (which is to communicate meaning). The change in form does not necessitate a change function from how it was used originally. With this claim writing is event and thing coexistently.
Writing as a physical entity (a thing) has drastically changed how we receive and produce communication. Print has enabled us retain and preserve the orality of ideas in a physical form. Ideas can know be kept so that we can know read about the ideas of people from generations ago. As an extension technology continues to change how we receive and produce communication. The fluidity and...

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