Schlagwort-Archiv: Ong

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„Print encourages a sense of closure, a sense that what is found in a text has been finalized, has reached a state of completion. This sense affects literary creations and it affects analytic philosophical or scientific work.

Before print, writing itself encouraged some sense of noetic closure. By isolating thought on a written surface, detached from any interlocutor, making utterance in this sense autonomous and indifferent to attack, writing presents utterance and thought as uninvolved with all else, somehow self-contained, complete.“


[Walter J. Ong in „Orality and Literacy“, 1982]



„By removing words from the world of sound where they had first had their origin in active human interchange and relegating them definitively to visual surface, and by otherwise exploiting visual space for the management of knowledge, print encouraged human beings to think of their own interior conscious and unconscious resources as more and more thing-like, impersonal and religiously neutral. Print encouraged the mind to sense that its possessions were held in some sort of inert mental space.“

[Walter J. Ong in „Orality and Literacy“, 1982]

disengagement through writing?

„Writing fosters abstractions that disengage knowledge from the arena where human beings struggle with one another. It seperates the knower from the known. By keeping knowledge embedded in the human lifeworld, orality situates knowledge within a context of struggle. Proverbs and riddles are not used simply to store knowledge but to engage others in verbal and intellectual combat: utterance of one proverb or riddle challenges hearers to top it with a more apposite or a contradictory one.

Writing seperates the  knower from the known and thus sets up conditions for ‚objectivity‘, in the sense of personal disengagement or distancing.“

[Walter J. Ong in „Orality and Literacy“, 1982]


Wer von uns kennt sie nicht, die Beziehungsgeschichten, in denen durch sms „Schluß gemacht“ wird. Und erst kürzlich erzählte mir jemand, dass ihre Freundin heikle Gespräche am liebsten per sms oder skype führt, im Austausch von Angesicht zu Angesicht dagegen sehr stumm ist, was den Partner wiederum nahe an den Wahnsinn treibt. Dieses mündliche Schweigen und gleichzeitig schriftliche Sprechen kann natürlich viele Gründe haben…

Ich frage mich jedenfalls, ob die Schriftlichkeit neben einer vergrößerten zwischenmenschlichen Distanz, die Ong beschreibt, und die ja zuweilen auch sehr erwünscht sein kann, nicht auch den Schein erhöhter Objektivität oder sogar Kompetenz erweckt und damit zur Selbsttäuschung einlädt.




דיבר oder Das Wort als Ereignis

„Oral peoples commonly think of names (one kind of words) as conveying power over things. Explanations of Adam’s naming of the animals in Genesis 2:20 usually call condescending attention to this presumably quaint archaic belief. Such a belief is in fact far less quaint than it seems to unreflective chirographic and typographic folk.

First of all, names do give human beings power over what they name: without learning a vast store of names, one is simply powerless to understand, for example, chemistry and to practice chemical engineering. And so with all other intellectual knowledge. Secondly, chirographic and typographic folk tend to think of names as labels, written or printed tags imaginatively affixed to an object named. Oral folk have no sense of a name as a tag, for they have no idea of a name as something that can be seen. Written or printed representations of words can be labels; real, spoken words cannot be.“

[Walter J. Ong in „Orality and Literacy“, 1982]