Sunday, April 8, 2012

Will handwriting become obsolete?

I’ve heard people my age say: „Why can’t we write as our great-grandfathers did? It was so elegant and romantic.” In the next few decades, the question may sound somewhat different: “Why can’t we write at all?”
There has been a lot of things said and a lot of articles written about the future that is prepared for us by constantly developing technology. The future we have already started living in many ways. We abandoned letters for emails, going for a coffee for meeting later on Facebook, paper-books for e-books readers, and pens and papers for keyboards. It is a process that is by no means finished and we stand in the middle of it. Some of us has accepted this progress happily, some of us may be hesitant in some ways (I think that all of us still prefer human contact to cold screen of our computers) and some of us are more romantic (We simply cannot deprive ourselves from the feeling of holding an actual book in our hands or writing our thoughts down – not typing them down.) The most important thing is that we have a choice. We stood at the very beginning of this whole new world we created. We have witnessed the change and we can decide whether we are going to adopt it; however, we all have to adapt to it somehow. The next generation might not be so lucky.

So, here goes my question to you: Can you imagine a world where there is no handwritten word, only a typed one? I cannot. Handwriting stands for expression of oneself, it is unique and personal. We have dedicated an entire field of study to handwriting – graphology. Even nowadays, in a world of digitalization, we value a handwritten word more for it is not as distant, not as a cold and not as monotonous as a typed word. There are so many types of handwriting as there are people. And if you ask me, handwriting is Art.
On the other hand, those who stand on the side of technology are also right. Typing is more efficient. Everyone can read it with no difficulty; in general we can type more quickly and without that many mistakes; if there is something wrong with the text it can be easily edited. In addition, you are required to write emails or blog posts. Typing has become a necessity. Nevertheless, in most cases we do have a choice.

In 2011 Indiana schools started to teach children typing instead of handwriting. It seems very logical given the digital environment into which the new generation is growing up. The fact is they might not need it in the future. A machine (in a form of a very small device capable of handling various tasks) may become a part of our everyday life in such a way that we may not need to know how to write – typing will be simply enough. These children will not have a choice between writing and typing because we will make the decision for them. They will not be able to express themselves in a handwritten word; they will never know how it feels to write a letter. 

Maybe it is because I have never become a real friend with computers but I firmly believe that handwriting has served me not only as a means of communication but also has taught me a lot about life – here I would like to quote something I found very fitting: “You learn that every stroke matters. You learn that each stroke will build from the previous one. You learn that sometimes you like to write freely (scribbles) and sometimes you like a more rigid handwriting. You learn that you couldn’t write as fast as your thoughts, so you have to choose your words carefully, giving you space to think.“

Furthermore, have you ever noticed yourself saying: “I need to type the email or type the assignment”? Probably not. We use the word ‘writing’ even when we do not mean the process of handwriting. WHY? You answer that.

_Monika Fousková


1 comment:

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