《The Disappearance of Childhood》的笔记-Chapter 2 The Printing Press and the New Adult
- 章节名：Chapter 2 The Printing Press and the New Adult
- 2015-09-05 22:05:57
It is obvious that for an idea like childhood to come into being, there must be a change in the adult world. And such a change must be not only of a magnitude but of a special nature. Specifically, it must generate a new definition of adulthood. During the Middle Ages there were several social changes, some important inventions, such as the mechanical clock, and many great events, including the Black Death. But nothing occurred that required that adults should alter their conception of adulthood itself. In the middle of the fifteenth century, however, such an event did occur: the invention of the printing press with movable type...... The possibility of having one's words and work fixed forever created a new and pervasive idea of selfhood. ... With the printing press, forever may be addressed by the voice of an individual, not a social aggregate.No one knows who invented the stirrup, or the longbow, or the button, or even eyeglasses, because the question of personal accomplishment was very nearly irrelevant in the medieval world. Indeed, prior to the printing press the concept of a writer, in the modern sense, did not exist. What did exist is described in detail by Saint Bonaventura, who tells us that in the thirteenth century there were four ways of making books:A man might write the works of the others, adding and changing nothing, in which case he is simply called a "scribe."... Another writes the works of others with additions which are not his own; and he is called a "compiler."... Another writes both others' work and his own, but with others' work in principal place, adding his own for purposes of explanation; and he is called a "commentator."... Another writes both his own work and others' but with his own work in principal place adding others' for purposes of confirmation; and such a man should be called an "author."..Saint Bonaventura not only does not speak of an original work in the modern sense but makes it clear that by writing, he is referring in great measure to the actual task of writing the words out, which is why the concept of individual, highly personal authorship could not exist within a scribal tradition. Each writer not only made mistakes in copying a text, but was free to add, subtract, clarify, update, or otherwise re-conceive the text as he thought necessary. Even such a cherished document as the Magna Charta, which was read twice a year in every shire in England, was by 1237 the subject of some controversy over which of several versions was authentic..... he and any other printers could not have known that they constituted an irresistible revolutionary force; that their infernal machines were, so to speak, the typescript on the wall, spelling out the end of the medieval world. ... "The invention of printing with movable type brought about the most radical transformation in the conditions of intellectual life in the history of Western civilization... Its effects were sooner or later felt in every department of human activity."... (Harold Innis) stressed that changes in communication technology invariably have three kinds of effects: They alter the structure of interests (the things thought about), the character of symbols (the things thought with), and the nature of community (the area in which thoughts develop). To put it as simply as one can, every machine is an idea, or a conglomerate of ideas. But they are not the sort of ideas that lead an inventor to conceive of a machine in the first place. We cannot know, for example, what was in Gutenberg's mind that led him to connect a winepress to book manufacturing, but it is safe conjecture that he had no intention of amplifying individualism or, for that matter, of undermining the authority of the Catholic Church. There is a sense in which all inventors are, to use Arthur Koestler's word, sleepwalkers. Or perhaps we might call them Frankensteins, and the entire process, the Frankenstein Syndrome: One creates a machine for a particular and limited purpose. But once the machine is built, we discover -- sometimes to our horror, usually to our discomfort, always to our surprise -- that it has ideas of its own; that it is quite capable not only of changing out habits but, as Innis tried to show, of changing our habits of mind.A machine may provide us with a new concept of time, as did the mechanical clock. Or of space and scale, as did the telescope. Or of knowledge, as did the alphabet. Or of the possibilities of improving human biology, as did eyeglasses. To say it in James Carey's bold way: We may find that the structure of our consciousness has been reshaped to parallel the structure of communication, that we have become what we have made.... In the early part of the eighth century the Anglo-Saxons had the stirrup available but no genius to see its possibilities. The Franks had both the stirrup and Charles Martel's genius, and as a consequence employed the stirrup to create a new means of war, not to mention an entirely new social and economic system, i.e., feudalism. The Chinese and Koreans (who invented movable metal type prior to Gutenberg) may or may not have had a genius available to see the possibilities of letterpress printing, but what they definitely did not have available were letters -- that is, an alphabetic system of writing. Thus, their "monster" returned to its slumber. Why the Aztecs, who invented the wheel, thought its possibilities were exhausted after attaching it to children's toys is still a mystery, but nonetheless another example of the non-inevitability of technology's infusing a culture with new ideas......... Within fifty years after the invention of the press more than eight million books had been printed. By 1480 there were presses in a hundred and ten towns in six different countries, fifty presses in Italy alone. By 1482, Venice was the world's printing capital....，，，，。。。But with the printed book another tradition began: the isolated reader and his private eye. Orality became muted, and the reader and his response became separated from a social context. The reader retired within his own mind, and from the sixteenth century to the present what most readers have required of others is their absence, or, if not that, their silence. In reading, both the writer and reader enter into a conspiracy of sorts against social presence and consciousness. Reading is, in a phrase, an antisocial act.Thus, at both ends of the process -- production and consumption -- print created a psychological environment within which the claims of individuality became irresistible. This is not to say that individualism was created by the printing press, only that individualism became a normal and acceptable psychological condition. ...Here it is worth recalling Harold Innis's principle that new communication technologies not only give us new things to think about but new things to think with. The form of the printed book created a new way of organising content, and in so doing, it promoted a new way of organising thought. The unyielding linearity of the printed book -- the sequential nature of its sentence-by-sentence presentation, its paragraphing, its alphabetised indices, its standardised spelling and grammar-- led to the habits of thinking that James Joyce mockingly called ABCED-mindedness, meaning a structure of consciousness that closely parallels the structure of typography. ...... "The medieval teacher of the Corpus Juris could not demonstrate to either his students or himself how each component of the law was related to the logic of the whole because very few teachers had ever seen the Corpus Juris as a whole. But beginning in 1553 a print-oriented generation of legal scholars undertook the task of editing the entire manuscript, including reorganising its parts, dividing it into coherent sections, and indexing citations. By so doing, they made the ancient compilation entirely accessible, stylistically intelligible, and internally consistent, which is to say, they reinvented the subject....At the same time, and inevitably, sixteenth-century editors of books became preoccupied with clarity and logic of organisation........ As calligraphy disappeared, so that there was a loss of idiosyncratic script, the impersonality and repeatability of typescript assumed a certain measure of authority......What is being said here is that typography was by no means a neutral conveyor of information. It led to a reorganisation of subjects, an emphasis on logic and clarity, an attitude toward the authority of information. It also led to new perceptions of literary form. Prose and poetry, for example, became distinguished from one another by the way in which words were distributed on the printed page. And, of course, the structure of the printed pages as well as the portability and repeatability of the printed book played a decisive role not only in the creation of the essay but also in the creation of what became known as the novel...........Through print, God became an Englishman, or a German, or a Frenchman, depending on the vernacular in which His words were revealed. The effect of this was to strengthen the cause of nationalism while weakening the sacred nature of scripture. The eventual replacement of love of God with love of Country, from the eighteenth century to the present, may well be one of the consequences of printing. For the past two centuries, for example, Christians have been inspired to make war almost exclusively in the interests of nationhood; God has been left to fend for Himself.The replacement of medieval, Aristotelian science by modern science may also be attributed in large measure to the press. Copernicus was born at the end of the fifteenth century, and Andreas Vesalius, Tycho Brahe, Francis Bacon, Galileo, Johannes Kepler, William Harvey, and Descartes were all born in the sixteenth; that is to say, the foundations of modern science were laid within one hundred years after the invention of the printing press. One may get a sense of how dramatic was the changeover from medieval thought to modern science by contemplating the year 1543. In that year both Copernicus's De Revolutionibus and Vesalius's De Fabrica appeared, the former reconstituting astronomy, the latter, anatomy. How did the new communication environment produce such an outpouring of scientific discovery and genius?In the first place, print not only created new methods and sources of data collection but vastly increased communication among scientists on a continent-wide basis. Second, the thrust toward standardisation resulted in uniform mathematical symbols, including the replacement of Roman with Arabic numerals. Thus, Galileo could refer to mathematics as the 'language of Nature." with assurance that other scientists could speak and understand that language. Moreover, standardisation largely eliminated ambiguity in texts and reduced error in diagrams, charts, tables, and maps. By making available repeatable visual aids, print made nature appear more uniform and therefore more accessible.Printing also led to the popularisation of scientific ideas through the use of vernaculars. Although some sixteenth-century scientists -- Harvey, for example -- insisted on writing in Latin, others, such as Bacon, eagerly employed the vernacular in an effort to convey the new spirit and methods of scientific philosophy. The day of of the alchemists' secrets ended. Science became public business.....In 1570, for example, the first English translation of Euclid became available.... During the course of the century an entirely new symbolic environment had been created. That environment filled the world with new information and abstract experience. It required new skills, attitudes, and, especially, a new kind of consciousness. Individuality, an enriched capacity for conceptual thought, intellectual vigour, a belief in the authority of the printed word, a passion for clarity, sequence, and reason -- all of this moved into the forefront, as the medieval oral environment receded.What had happened, simply, was that Literate Man had been created. And in his coming, he left behind the children. For in the medieval world neither the young more the old could read, and their business was in the here and now, in "the immediate and local,".... From print onward, adulthood had to be earned. It became a symbolic, not a biological, achievement. From print onward, the young would have to become adults, and they would have to do it by learning to read, by entering the world of typography. And in order to accomplish that they would require education. Therefore, European civilisation reinvented schools. And by so doing, it made childhood a necessity.
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