Presence of the Word – Electronic Era

October 20th, 2010

Ong, Walter J. The Presence of the Word: Some Prolegomena for Cultural and Religious History. The Terry Lectures. New Haven: Yale University Press, 1967.

Ong discusses the third stage of verbalization and notes that the process is sequential:

The past century has seen the world enter into a new stage beyond orality and script and print, a stage characterized by the use of electronics for verbal communication. There has been a sequence within this stage, too: telegraph (electronic processing of the alphabetized word), telephone (electronic processing of the oral word), radio (first for telegraphy, then for voice; an extension first of telegraph and then of telephone), sound pictures (electronic sound added to electrically projected vision), television (electronic vision added to electronic sound), and computers (word silenced once more, and thought processes pretty completely reorganized by extreme quantification). (87-88).

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