Darmok and Jalad at Tanagra

This excerpt from Orality and literacy: the technologizing of the word, written by Walter J. Ong talks about a culture devoid of any physical way of communication. What I mean by “physical” is tangible method of communication that you can store, modify, display and like the text says: “look it up”. Like for anything extremes are not the wanted solution. Yes, it might be novel and interesting but in the long run extremely impractical. This applies as well to the extreme that our generation is running towards: an purely written culture. And not even well written for that, just the basic minimum to get our point across to our interlocutor. This kind of future is not difficult to imagine when you see two people texting. That being said I do believe we as a people/species will stop and realize the error of our ways and begin our journey back up the proverbial hole.

Dathon and Captain Jean-Luc Picard

On another note I found the part about proverbs being used to communicate in a purely oral culture quite interesting. You see, in case you haven’t figured it out yet, I am huge Star-Trek fan. To be more precise, Star-Trek The Next Generation. In that series their is an episode where Captain Jean-Luc Picard finds himself stranded on a planet with an bizarre humanoid man called Dathon that only communicates in proverbs. One of the more prevalent proverb is “Darmok and Jalad at Tanagra”, it refers to a folk tale of two very different individual stranded on an Island. What Dathon meant to say was they were stuck and had to work together to survive.

Maybe if a human from the future, travels back in time meet us now, we will have the same problem that Captain Picard and Dathon had. Only time will tell.

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