ECO S Eugene

Economic S Eugene

Writing Recording Lasting Links

Writing and Recording

From the day he drew a charred stick across a cavern wall, to outline the form of his kill, until today, man has consciously and unconsciously left records about himself. Through the last thirty thousand years both times and records have changed beyond belief, yet today we exclaim over records of the Stone Age, take for granted the bewildering recording devices used in this Miracle Age.

Let us “stand and stare” for a few moments. Take the evolution of only one means of recording-writing. We see writing grow from pictures to ideas and finally to the recording of sounds by phonetic writing and so to alphabets.

Surfaces, too, are important. Immovable walls of caves were succeeded by the papyrus of the Egyptians, the clay tablets of Babylonia, the wax tablets of the Greeks, the parchment of the Romans, palm leaves in the East Indies, and finally the illuminated parchment of the mediaeval monks which bridged the short but vital gap between writing and printing from wood blocks and eventually from movable type on paper of various sorts.

Thirty thousand years ago crude drawings in caves, the first known writing, were “read” only by the family. Five hundred years ago printing from movable type vastly enlarged writing’s influence. Today the modern news, paper, made possible by telegraph, telephone, teletype, linotype, photography, and much other complex machinery, is read simultaneously by millions.

Consider the archeologist and his work. Painstaking digging and recording with pen and camera, patient study of his finds, piecemeal correlation of them with other areas and finds, result in a picture of the past, an unconscious record left by those who never thought that others would desire to know how they lived. Then turn to recent efforts to smooth the archeologists’ path five thousand years from now by burying the Time Capsule fifty feet in the earth as “a suitable gift to our far-off descendants.” Those who study the Capsule’s contents will know more about those who live today than any man now living knows about us. The 3560 copies of the “Book of Record,” distributed to the world’s safest repositories, will direct futurians to archeology de luxe. These may well be records “that defy the tooth of time.”

With Byron we may well marvel:

” Tis strange, the shortest letter which man uses

Instead of speech may form a lasting link of ages.”