A response to ‘The future of the pen’

A very interesting post was created in our Digital Humanities forum earlier in the month, asking ‘What is the future of the pen?’ Here were some of my thoughts on the issue.

The poor pen, yeah, I love it. I don’t use it much, but I love it. I like it not so much for writing things, but for doodling! Oh my, it is so wonderful, and relaxing.

See, the crux here is that we have this whole digital reality coming upon us, I mean there has never been anything like it before (that we are currently aware of). As in, there is the biological ‘real world’, and now there is this whole other world of 0s, and 1s – it’s that mental! Like another dimension being created around us, by us, through us, alien to us, yet a product of us. Forget about typing – even in a few hundred years, you’re talking digital cybernetic implants; thoughts are energy, right? (E=mc2?) We’re looking at telepathy not far down the line via wireless implants in our brains – no, it will happen, it will! No doubt. I still have this creepy feeling that this is all way out of our hands already. 

So the thing with the pen, and the quill for that matter, is that they are not digital. It was mentioned above that the pen may become as the quill is now, but I say that those two are of the same kind, now that there is this digital reality amongst us, and both have even more tremendous value now. I know for a fact that I could not sketch on a computer, and feel as relaxed as I do when I have a pen in my hand slowly drawing a line, eye and breath fixed at one point, no intermediary between me and my creation, from ether, to mind, to arm, to pen, to paper. 

Perhaps one day we will snap out of it and go, ‘What is all this… this crap!’ Or the ego will undergo a transformation and we, as we know ourselves, will be gone, not so human after all. 

All very pessimistic sounding – sorry, I’m a little sick at the moment. I do love technology, but I am becoming ever so much more aware of its potential – both great and terrifying. I think this question of a pen is brilliant, and fascinating! It really brings into focus a genuine meeting point of the two worlds.


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