Agonistically Toned

December 26th, 2007

Ong also discusses that a characteristic of orally-based thought and expression is that it is, what he deems, agonistically toned. Specifically, he discuses that in oral cultures, each narrative and other piece of information is with the knower. This is to say, there is little way to decipher any difference between the known and the knower. Therefore, it is not until the advent of the chirographic culture that this situation changed. “[Writing] separates the knower from the known.” (43).

While this point is accurate, digital orality replaces that connection between knower and known. In other words, writing takes a knower’s knowledge and makes it an abstract, attainable, knowable by anyone. This general concept can still be true; however, beyond the printed text, digital orality allows an individual to still be the originator, the knower, the one to whom listeners turn having sought him/her out. It is then possible for that listener to become the knower, too.