Formerly, and fairly uncommonly today, learning was from a master to apprentice. An individual experienced in his field could impart his knowledge through the demonstration and repeated testing of an art of doing. Now, let’s see what the pen has changed in terms of learning.
There was a time when masters taught their knowledge orally, by giving examples and concretising knowledge over time. Today, it is with a pen and a notebook that knowledge is passed on, revised and instilled without necessarily having been fully understood.
In a notebook, one can find the coarsest, the most superficial, as well as the most coveted and the most specialized knowledge. Since man realized that information was the most precious asset he could have, he has kept it, preserved it and passed it on. First to loved ones, then more broadly to today where anyone can easily acquire almost any information if they ask the right question.
We owe all the progress of recent years in science and medicine to the pen. This little ink-filled tube allows us to check calculations, to not forget an idea during the sacred moment when it comes ; thanks to the pen, our works are able to be proofread and corrected, tweaked and improved. They can be filed and manufactured. All our possessions were first given life to on paper, and each man saw his knowledge deepen through his work. We could pass on knowledge, knowledge and information.
However, it would be illusory to think that only the arts of the mind have been transformed by the pen. Manual trades depend heavily on it and remind us of how short our memory is, how bad our vision is and brings us back to our own, human condition ; able to use tools to facilitate our survival, to build our identities, our social ties and to change our environment so that it adapts to our presence over time and generations for better or worse.
You will not see your pen the same way when you look at your desk.