Towards Better Democracy

Good words, well written, better the world. Good literature betters the world immeasurably.

Writing is difficult

Writing is difficult. Writing is artificial. As are learning the alphabet and reading. Writing, reading and learning the alphabet cannot be learned overnight. Contrariwise, we can sing in our sleep. All these acquired skills are drummed into us as children. Laboriously repeating sounds that approximate to the vowels  and consonants. On the wall even the blindest could are boxes drawn to contain and A and a, with an apple beside. B and b have box. C and c a cat, and so forth to encompass all 26 letters of the English alphabet, itself a combination of those first two letters. And move later to pronouncing well, so that our follow speakers can understand us. “The rain in Spain … ” where it hardly ever rains. Later in our education we may learn the art of rhetoric. To intone and sound wise, and clever, even if dull of brain and slow of wit.

Reading is acquired thorough rote. We start with the simplest. “The cat …” though in our house she never does. She never sits but lies on the couch and looks at us lesser creatures with a feline disdain. Again and again we go through passages. Again and again , until some sense is got from the insensible, incompressible words, which we are told are sentences. And so on until at some point this stops. Thank God for that. The equivalent of walking without the aid of a parent to hold our hand. Though my reading teacher at school, I don’t know about yours, would rasp at us, a sound we never could produce, and expel sounds that well conveyed her thoughts of our efforts.

Writing was worth. You lived through absolute hell if you were left handed. And malformed letter earned you, an undeserved – for writing is difficult, and there is no other way to teach it than force feeding a liver goose – a rap on the knuckles.

Having acquired all these, we are now called literate. Societies that don’t have these skills, have no writing system, are viewed as incivilized, especially if they run around in loin cloths, or, horror upon horror, naked. Though, in this state we are all born.

Depots in the earliest of times, when we first began to cultivate our crops, grabbed power and exhorted from us part of that harvest, or maybe not a part, but close to a whole, and wished to count this hoard of misbegotten goods so as to ensure that all held in thrall by his magical powers paid up or forfeited land or life, for was not religion, the mysteries, formulated to ensure the legitimacy of this self-appointed man – they were all men – the famous despotic women (they were sugbjugating naughty and nasty men who plotted and canived to kill them (and who of us would not, if we had the means at our disposal, seek to protect and save our lives?)) came later  – women nurture mankind, not enslave, maim and kill them.

Besides keeping track of who had paid his dues or not, the top of the heap head had to guard against theft, and the menace of nature; rodent, rain, or ruin.

To exhalt his stature, to have all comers bow and kiss his unwashed feet, he developed writing so that his laws of rule could endure for eternity, his fame ensured for centuries ahead.

Music, singing and speaking are not like this. They are natural. As does the bird fly, or the  fish swim. Language was learned from the moment out of the mother’s womb and maybe before. Children barely need to be taught. The arts too, visual, plastic and solid are also innate. Nature build them into us.

All these are as natural to us as is the skin that enwraps us. Not so writing. Writing is difficult.

Malcolm D B Munro
Saturday 12 August, 2017





Filed under: Arts, Current Events, Media, Music, poetry, politics, songs, stories

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