At first, there was thought

And that thought was expressed probably at about the same time verbally, in gestures and in drawings in early social settings of humans. Languages evolved to codify sharing of thoughts and the only "record" of past thoughts was oral history. The need for giving some permanence to thoughts gave rise to first types of writing which were pictorial, eventually to evolve into more abstract form of symbols and ending up with the purest form of such abstraction - written word in the form of an alphabet. 

The need for communication across distance of both time and space required a form of a display device for the written word that was more portable than caveside rock or walls inside of a pharaoh's tomb. First came the clay tablets and then papyrus and ultimately paper as display devices.

In the history of thought, display device of paper or paper equivalent is just a tiny sliver of history and a temporary stage just like all the previous display devices. It is now being replaced by electronic display devices which will, I suspect, eventually be replaced by some form of non-visual conveyance of thoughts directly into the brain. There is no reason at all why something non-material (thoughts) should go through a material stage (paper) in order to be transmitted over time or distance only to become another non-material thing (the same thought or variation thereof in the mind of another human being).

So for all those people who "just don't like to read books on electronic devices" - you are really not "honouring" some about to become extinct special thing. You are addicted to the smell of glue that binds pages together, you are resistant to change and you are reading less as a result then you otherwise could be reading, thereby actually dishonouring the "original intent" which is the more sharing of thought, the better.

There is nothing special about paper as a display device and it was a convenient one for a period of time. Now other kinds of displays are better and paper is inferior and romanticizing it is no different than lamenting that horse drawn carriages were supplanted by loud, smelly automobiles. It is just human progress so get over it and get with it.


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