Printing the Written Word


While I may rail against the technology that seems to permeate every aspect of daily life, in all honesty I have many technological advances to thank for the comforts I enjoy today. My favorite is the printing press. Yes, I am going all the way back to basics here. I love the printing press because without it I’d have to be a monk to access a library of any consequence. My parents can attest I’d probably be burned at the stake for witchcraft for dressing as a monk just to be near books. To put it simply I love to read. Without the printing press we would probably still be in the Dark Ages, living in small huts, trying to survive on what our benevolent dictator gave us from our hard labor.

(photo courtesy of

(photo courtesy of

The printing press began the Renaissance, which many credit with the beginnings of our rapid technological advancement. Suddenly everyone had educational opportunities not just the upper class. New ideas could travel swiftly from province to province; revolutions could steadily gain steam and depose cruel autocrats. The printing press essentially gave us the world of comfort we have. And while I may object to some advances in technology, I couldn’t live without my books, which give me worlds to navigate despite sitting in one spot.

(photo courtesy of

(photo courtesy of

And yet I have another innovation to thank for my favorite pastime: the written word. The beautiful prose and exciting adventures I traverse through in the pages of my favorite books wouldn’t be there if humans had never invented writing. I’d be lying if I said I read classic texts as voraciously as the new dystopian novel but growing up in a Protestant church and school I read the Bible often. While it may not be the oldest manuscript or even the most interesting, it does put an originally oral history into text, which has been passed down through generations. It was my introduction to religious mythology, morality, and sensual poetry. The Bible, like all books, influenced the way I look at the world and, because I insist on learning my lessons the hard way, if I learned all of my values and history from my parents telling stories I probably would not be where I am today. Don’t misunderstand me; my parents are some of the best moral storytellers I know but I have a tendency not to listen, even when it’s in my best interest to do so. Books have a way of showing me the consequences of my actions before I commit them by leading me on a journey with someone I can identify with. Without the written word or the printing press I’d probably get into a lot of trouble on a regular basis but then again the world itself would be in trouble without these inventions.


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