It’s All in the Delivery
But Gutenberg could turn out hundreds of books in a week, each one identical to the next. So it is not hard to envision the exponential growth of … well, everything. You no longer needed old wise men to learn from. You didn’t need to be an apprentice. You could learn anything and everything from a book.
Well, we all know the story of how the first book was a bible. But do you know what the very next books were? The topics were exactly the same things that are popular today. Craft books, then scientific books, then the explosion of thought and free thinking.
The printing press reduced the cost of books, increased their availability and encouraged the spread of literacy. It helped alter the economic, scientific and ideological outlooks for the next five centuries. It must have spread something like a virus, and the net result was that it democratized knowledge. And that is no small thing. Yes, that is the business Gutenberg was in, and so are you.
From Storytellers to E-tellers
We have gone from the storytellers of the oral tradition and cave paintings to memory devices like batons and parchment scribed by hand. We have gone from the printing press to new forms of electronic communication. Each new development in the history of communication has always further democratized the delivery of information. Nothing has really changed, except the method of delivery.
So if you think about it, printing on dead trees is no longer the only way of reproducing books and magazines. The process of reading, however, has not changed an iota; it is the same as it has always been.
We are still reading exactly the same way we did 25,000 years ago—we are still mentally interpreting written symbols. We are exploring new ways to do the same things the Ishango shaman did. Capturing ideas, storing it outside of the brain, and passing it on to other humans. Nothing has changed in 25,000 years except the method of delivery. PE