In the past I had done a lot of research on every post I write. Or, almost every post. I spend a lot of time; I proofread and add links and footnotes. I polish drafts, I ask friends and family to read and make suggestions. Then I finally publish my post and very few people actually read it. In fact, I’ve already asked most of my regular audience to proofread the drafts, so they aren’t very interested in re-reading the final product.
As a result, I have not written much and I have not written often. I don’t think I have a huge audience clamoring for my work, but I would like to write more, so my writing in the future may be a bit less polished.
I’m also working on finding my voice in writing. It’s probably going to come out a bit pitchy for a while. I may scare away the few people who do read my work. Some pieces may sound like a country song, others like a textbook. I want to eventually sound like me. There will, I’m certain, be missteps along the way, but I will get there eventually.
Are Humans Better Than Animals?
This is not meant to be a controversial piece at all, though people are capable of taking issue with anything and everything. But, again, I don’t know that anyone is going to read this anyway. Still, I’m not here to make an argument that humans are superior to all other animals. I think that many animals have a lot of great qualities that humans sometimes lack, like the compassion and loyalty of dogs, or the independence and scrappiness of cats.
But humans are different. I think this is difficult to dispute. We invented indoor plumbing, so in that sense we are better than all other terrestrial life forms. Because toilets are truly amazing.
But beyond toilets, humans are different in one significant way: we can write. Many other animals can communicate through language. Apparently crows are as intelligent as a 6-year-old. But no other living thing can write. It is truly a miracle that we can, in full fidelity, record anything we can speak. Although a great deal can be communicated through non-verbal communication, there is virtually no idea or concept that cannot be expressed in written form.
Records Make Each Generation Smarter
Writing is foundational to being human. Not every human has learned to write, but (nearly?) every human has been affected by the existence of written records. Writing gives us multi-generational memory. In other words, I don’t have to learn from experience the things that my grandfather wrote down. Every other animal has to rely on instinct and personal experience for everything they learn. To an extent, they may be taught by their immediate family, but they can never learn from someone they have never met.
For humans, each generation gets to stand on the shoulders of previous generations. It takes some time to get up to speed with what the previous generations have discovered. Then we can take what they have learned and build on it. There is nothing remarkable in this observation, but imagine the course of human history without writing. First, there would be no history, at least not a reliable history, because history requires writing. Second, we would never really progress as a species without writing. It is a remarkable, miraculous tool, and perhaps the one thing that most separates us from the animals.
So I will keep writing, and keep trying to improve my ability to record my thoughts and ideas.