A Brief History of the Code – Part 1

Understanding the code and its history is essential to understanding the “CONFUSION‘ involved in learning to read it today. The “Power of Writing” begins our journey into the profound cognitive and institutional consequences of becoming code users (writers and readers). Next, “The Alphabet’s Big Bang” and “Grecian Formulas” explore the origin of the Alphabet and it’s unparalleled effects on the minds and institutions that gave rise to western civilization (future segments will address oral cultures and pre-alphabetic writing systems). In “Lend Me Your Ears” we introduce the initial relationships between letters and sounds (critical background for future segments on how the code became so complex). And, in the “Code of da Vinci” we present the code as both the ‘DNA of science’ and the ‘media that enabled the Renaissance’. Finally, we review the “Spread, Rise, and Fall of Literacy” which sets the stage for “A Brief History of the Code – Part 2: Ye First Millennium Bug”.

“The big step between civilization and more primitive forms of human society is written language.”Dr. John Searle, Professor of the Philosophy of Mind and Language at U.C. Berkeley

“We have all become children of the code” – Dr. Malcolm Richardson, Chair, Department of English, LSU

“I think it was much easier to learn how to read in the 8th century B.C. than it is today.” – Dr. Frank Moore Cross, Professor Emeritus of Ancient Languages, Harvard University

“Once we start writing, we are able to then reflect back upon what we have written, and we enter into this kind of recursive relation to our own written signs. And, so, only then, a certain degree or experience of self-reflection that we now sort of take for granted, comes into being.” – David Abram, Philosopher and Ecologist, Author: The Spell of the Sensuous.

“In learning to read… we were satisfied when we knew the letters of the alphabet” – Plato, The Republic