Results 1 to 10 of 10

Thread: Disadvantages to literary culture?

  1. #1
    Registered User Kent Edwins's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2008
    Location
    N.J.
    Posts
    80

    Disadvantages to literary culture?

    One of the things we've been discussing in one of my classes is this: what are the advantages and disadvantages to writing? How does writing change us? How are oral cultures different from literary ones?

    I want to discuss this. I'll start by posting some thoughts of my own. Hopefully, my thoughts will be enough to, at least, give us something to work with.

    EDITED SINCE FIRST FEW POSTS:

    Language makes ideas available to us. It takes our thoughts and ideas, and recreates them as something tangible that can be dissected, amended, reworked, and regurgitated. It allows in thoughts that otherwise may never have entered our domain of consciousness. It makes us more aware of ourselves and others, as it allows us to define ourselves and others.

    The whole is greater than the some of its parts. Sometimes, language allows this notion to be overlooked. It allows us to replace the reality we are experiencing with less than perfect descriptions. Through writing, we chance sincere understanding of ourselves and one another. We chance replacing the realities of what we really are with definitions, generalizations, and sweeping ideologies.
    Last edited by Kent Edwins; 11-19-2008 at 10:08 AM.

  2. #2
    Registered User
    Join Date
    Feb 2007
    Location
    Belo Horizonte- Brasil
    Posts
    2,735
    those are not the differences. What you described happens (if happens) in oral culture as well.

    Writing have different ways of durability. Writing culture allows a set of organization and democratization. Also, writing culture is less dominated by surpersticious thinking.

    Yet, it is more also prone to use culture as domination tool, standartization, mass culture and understimantion of the other senses.

  3. #3
    Registered User Kent Edwins's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2008
    Location
    N.J.
    Posts
    80
    those are not the differences. What you described happens (if happens) in oral culture as well.
    Would you mind clarifying? I'm not sure what you are referring to. Do you mean that oral language has the same set of advantages and disadvantages as written (or, at least the same ones I've put down)?

    I can see how that's true. However, since oral language is ephemeral, I doubt it's as easy to be directly tinkered with as written language is.

    So
    It takes our thoughts and ideas, and recreates them as something tangible that can be dissected, amended, reworked, and regurgitated.
    doesn't apply to oral. Or, if it does, it's a different sort of process (like oral legends that change as they are told over time).

  4. #4
    Registered User mangueken's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2008
    Location
    Grew up in Kentucky, Lived in Brazil for a decade and have now returned to Kentucky
    Posts
    88
    A hard question to answer since I grew up in a written cultural setting. I tend to lean towards to JCamilo in that the things you listed in the bad section (definitions, generalizations, and sweeping ideologies) can probably be found in the oral traditions of people still living in tribes in remote areas. I'm not sure.
    Although, overall I would still want to take my "chances" with Shakespeare, Dostoevsky and Dickinson : )

  5. #5
    Registered User Kent Edwins's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2008
    Location
    N.J.
    Posts
    80
    A hard question to answer since I grew up in a written cultural setting. I tend to lean towards to JCamilo in that the things you listed in the bad section (definitions, generalizations, and sweeping ideologies) can probably be found in the oral traditions of people still living in tribes in remote areas. I'm not sure.
    Although, overall I would still want to take my "chances" with Shakespeare, Dostoevsky and Dickinson : )
    As would I.

    We also should consider that only literate people would probably ever even decide to have this discussion. It's like Buddhism. You have to be a pretty intelligent person to consider the benefits of shutting down your mind and just "going" with life.

  6. #6
    I think one important aspect that differentiate writing from oral tradition is the clearer means of identifying the impact of a writing in comparison to that of an oral piece. When one say "Marx's" writing has a profound impact on the reader they mean the content of the writing and not the person. But in case of Oral method, IMO, i believe it is much more difficult and may be even impossible to delineate the impact of the content from that of the personality of the person who is sharing the content.

  7. #7
    liber vermicula Bitterfly's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2008
    Location
    France
    Posts
    294
    I'd say that written cultures have a history, where oral cultures have none: look at most of Africa, nothing remains to tell us about ancient civilisations, because nothing was ever written down. It's much the same situation for Amerindian tribes in South America, even though they seem to have left more artifacts. History seems to be essential to the formation of identity.

    And of course, despite the fact that oral culture has now been made fashionable, in the name of multiculturalism and respect of "different" cultures, I think there still is a hierarchy of values in which written cultures are supposed to be more advanced, more sophisticated than and superior to oral cultures.

  8. #8
    Registered User
    Join Date
    Feb 2007
    Location
    Belo Horizonte- Brasil
    Posts
    2,735
    Quote Originally Posted by Kent Edwins View Post
    Would you mind clarifying? I'm not sure what you are referring to. Do you mean that oral language has the same set of advantages and disadvantages as written (or, at least the same ones I've put down)?
    No, I meant what you proposed as advantages (which I would rather not use, I would use differences) are not true, happening in the oral societies as well.

    I can see how that's true. However, since oral language is ephemeral, I doubt it's as easy to be directly tinkered with as written language is.
    Here, oral language is not ephemeral. There is more oral idioms only than written and very few writen idioms that were not oral. The oldest idioms we have still used are oral. Oral idioms have their own system of preservation. The difference is that they are not going to turn in a global idiom like english or french. Oral culture is more than often localized.
    Another thing is considering for example that Music is a oral system and how moderm technologies affects or produced a new settle of oral "culture"- Paul Zumthor I think have a book about it.




    doesn't apply to oral. Or, if it does, it's a different sort of process (like oral legends that change as they are told over time).
    See, you already answered it. In both traditions (Oral and written, it is good to note that both co-existed only the last centuries have a real dominance of written world) there is a discussion about the originality, preservantion of a final product.
    Some accuse literature (here,I will use literature as written culture) of turning the stories in settled texts, unmovable, unchanged and losing the authenticy and the spontaneus creative power of a oral performance. Authorship is pretty much sacred. In oral cultures it is true there is no final form, but is far from not tangible. Oral storytellers are full of techniques and calling it not tangible just because it does not form an artificatic is like calling music of not tangible... In this essence, a oral story is more maleable. I can not get Tale of Two Cities and change it just a little and publish. Yet, I can get a version of Red Hooding and change to please a more mature or more infatile audience. This is maleability.
    However, in literature, the power of influence keep the text maleable, thus we have Dom Quixote interpretations in Kafka, Borges, Etc. So, both are maleable, can be shapped, etc.
    Also, there is systems of recording in oral traditions. The difference is (to today culture when we have a massive ammount of people who can read) that this system is restrict to those who can remember or repeate the formulations. It is basead on humans. You may say human memory is falible, but I will point to you more poeople know Dom Quixote than have read it.

    If you are going to write a serious essay, judgments of vallue must be erased. Of course Shakespeare is great. But Homer is also and he is a oral - if we can call him he - storyteller. Not exactly a writer. Also, the entire system of mythologies we have, all great stuff, greeks, jewish, chinese, etc belong to oral creators. Here is another difference, the concept of authorship, to own a work belongs only to today society. In the past a (hi)story would belong to a group of people, in the oral societies. That is why you can not point a great name. The gregarious nature of oral society (also during perfomance, you usually read a book alone, while you can tell stories to many) is a good difference. (I must point out that one of the main reasons why there is so little left of Africa when compared to others is because no continent was ravaged like that one. Still is. However, if you pick the oral storytellers you will listen tales that older than anything produced in europe)

  9. #9
    Registered User Kent Edwins's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2008
    Location
    N.J.
    Posts
    80
    Thanks for such an interesting post!

    (I must point out that one of the main reasons why there is so little left of Africa when compared to others is because no continent was ravaged like that one. Still is. However, if you pick the oral storytellers you will listen tales that older than anything produced in europe)
    I've "read" the Sundiata and I've got say, it's quite fascinating. The whole idea of the griot, who's like a walking library of history, literature, and music solely invested in one person is a fantastic notion.

    What a dream job that would be!

  10. #10
    Disadvantages to literary culture?
    One of the things we've been discussing in one of my classes is this: what are the advantages and disadvantages to writing? How does writing change us? How are oral cultures different from literary ones?
    It is about memory and about men beeing dispossessed of himself.
    When the man get some rest from the survival he knew to open his mind to the out universe and invented myths, he also invented the remembrance and the transmision of it.
    We have no idea how much more memory did have our ancestors,
    we lost our individual memory, we are not able anymore to keep all in memory
    and our wings are to heavy to fly.
    We live in an outside memory era, our memory are actually in the books in the best of the case as it migrates in the more volatile content as the Web.
    A book you can read it on the day light anywhere, for internet and all computers content you have to have electricity, this is a very heavy dependance; who consider how much time work he lost whith the new media?

    Can we return to the oral culture ? certainly not and we don't need this;
    one thing is sure we have to do the best in keeping the human, human.

Similar Threads

  1. We Need A Revolution In Literature!
    By WolfLarsen in forum General Writing
    Replies: 251
    Last Post: 01-10-2012, 05:56 PM
  2. Discuss literary movements
    By wordsworth in forum General Literature
    Replies: 35
    Last Post: 10-09-2010, 12:37 PM
  3. Name game!
    By hedbanger in forum Forum Games
    Replies: 1688
    Last Post: 03-18-2008, 07:31 PM
  4. Literary characters or references in popular culture
    By Slurpee in forum General Literature
    Replies: 7
    Last Post: 06-22-2007, 11:26 AM

Bookmarks

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •