26 Matching Annotations
  1. Sep 2021
    1. Our efforts at education and training, as well as management and leadership, are aimed principally at promoting brain-bound thinking.

      In many areas of human life including education and business, we limit ourselves too heavily by too exclusively promoting and preferring brain-bound thinking. If we could begin to re-center our external thinking as many oral and indigenous cultures have, we might be able to go further and farther.

    1. Ratson and Ben-Dov found that the scroll lays out the most important dates in the Qumran sect’s 364-day calendar, including the festivals of New Wine and New Oil, which are not mentioned in the Bible. It also reveals for the first time the name given to the special days on which the sect would celebrate the transition between seasons, four times a year. The days were referred to as “Tekufah”, which translates as “period”.

      Given their focus on dates and calendars, what other evidence of mnemonic traditions might we draw from a culture that was likely near the transition from oral to written transmission?

      Would they have had standing stones, stone circles, handheld mnemonic devices?

  2. Aug 2021
    1. John Wesley Powell (1834–1902)

      Campaigner for Native American rights.

      Set up Bureau of American Ethnology.

      Recommended setting up reservations for indigenous people in America.

      Recorded tribal oral histories.

      Recruited Cyrus Thomas who proved that the moundbuilder race hadn't existed, but they were erected by ancestors of modern Native Americans.

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  3. Jul 2021
    1. The Activity and Art of Reading 15 If you ask a living teacher a question, he will probably answer you. If you are puzzled by what he says, you can save yourself the trouble of thinking by asking him what he means. If, however, you ask a book a question, you must answer it yourself.

      What effect might this have on the learning process of purely oral cultures?

    1. "The earlier systems of writing were extremely difficult to learn," says Schwartz, the Whiting Professor of Archaeology in the Department of Near Eastern Studies. "There were thousands of symbols used in very complicated ways, which meant that only a very small group of people could ever learn how to write or read. With the invention of the alphabet, it meant that a much larger number of people could, in theory, learn how to read and write. And so it ultimately led to the democratization of writing. And of course it is the system that all Western European writing systems used because Greeks, who borrowed the Semitic alphabetic system, then used it to write their own language."

      Early writing systems used thousands of symbols and were thus incredibly complex and required heavy memorization. This may have been easier with earlier mnemonic systems in oral (pre-literate societies), but would have still required work.

      The innovation of a smaller alphabetic set would have dramatically decreased the cognitive load of massive memorization and made it easier for people to become literate at scale.

    1. Ohne zu schreiben, kann man nicht denken; jedenfalls nicht in anspruchsvoller, anschlussfähiger Weise.

      You cannot think without writing; at least not in a sophisticated, connectable way. —Niklas Luhmann

      (Source of the original??)

      This is interesting, but is also ignorant of oral traditions which had means of addressing it.

  4. Jun 2021
    1. In Plato’s Phaedrus, Socrates bemoaned the development of writing. He feared that, as people came to rely on the written word as a substitute for the knowledge they used to carry inside their heads, they would, in the words of one of the dialogue’s characters, “cease to exercise their memory and become forgetful.” And because they would be able to “receive a quantity of information without proper instruction,” they would “be thought very knowledgeable when they are for the most part quite ignorant.” They would be “filled with the conceit of wisdom instead of real wisdom.” Socrates wasn’t wrong—the new technology did often have the effects he feared—but he was shortsighted. He couldn’t foresee the many ways that writing and reading would serve to spread information, spur fresh ideas, and expand human knowledge (if not wisdom).

      I feel like Western culture has lost so much of our memory traditions that this trite story, which I've seen often repeated, doesn't have the weight it should.

      Why can't we simultaneously have the old system AND the new? Lynne Kelly and Margo Neale touch on this in their coinage of the third archive in Songlines.

    1. Lynne Kelly's observation that oral cultures revised useful knowledge into their memories appears to me to be a simple precursor to annotation and the idea of the scientific method all in one...

    2. Scholars are likely familiar with the so-called “Great Conversation,” or the idea in Western thought that we collectively participate in an iterative process of knowledge production through reference, review, and refinement. As our conversation continues over time, an ever-expanding network of annotation–through notation, citation, links, and data–traces an interconnected lineage of ideas and insight.

      Again, Dr. Lynne Kelly discusses this sort of process in non-Western and primarily oral cultures as well. Songlines has some interesting discussion of this in the Australian aboriginal cultures.

    3. It is literally and figuratively marginal.

      There is, however, an exceptionally long tradition of moving one's annotations out of the margins and into more expansive spaces like commonplace books, zettelkasten, wikis, Memex, and digital gardens...

      This cultural thinking pattern also isn't confined by literacy either. Dr. Lynne Kelly attests the idea of the storage of ideas and their subsequent potential revision in oral cultures in Knowledge and Power in Prehistoric Societies: Orality, Memory and the Transmission of Culture. One may have lost the ability to track the original ideas in time, but the (useful) oral "annotations" were aggregated into cultural knowledge over time.

  5. May 2021
    1. An overview of Milman Parry's life, work, and some of his impact on Homeric studies and orality as media.

    2. If this is so, we literati must surrender certain cherished assumptions: that litera ture is inextricably associated with reading and writing, that lack of literacy means lack of culture.

      Lack of literacy definitely does not mean lack of culture.

      Reminder to self: I've got a strong suspicion that the Hebrew bible was transmitted orally for generations prior to being written down in a similar manner. I need to collect some additional evidence to build this case. The arc of the covenant is a first potential piece of evidence.

    1. hazelfaceHazel3dAs you likely know, “back in the day” stories, poetry, and religious texts were passed down from generation to generation. My big question is “how”. Does anyone know how this was done historically? Or how you would do it yourself today? I do some verbatim memorization for fun and have a process/formula I’m comfortable with. I’m really curious what sort of procedure I could build if I was limited Thank you!

      In both older and current cultures we see stories, songs, poetry, and a variety of knowledge passed down orally. Some of these, like Homer, were eventually written out and passed down using the written word. Texts, once extant, were generally passed around by copying out or mass printing, but generally were not memorized and passed along via orality or memory techniques. Obviously there are examples of people memorizing large portions of text personally, but this has generally not been the major mode of passing knowledge from one generation to the next.

      Dr. Lynne Kelly's text book Knowledge and Power in Prehistoric Societies: Orality, Memory and the Transmission of Culture (Cambridge University Press, 2015) does a solid job of covering some of the techniques in the archaeological and even contemporary records on this score.

      We have modern anthropologists attesting the oral methods you describe from several peoples around the world. Kelly's book, based on her Ph.D. thesis, does a good job of summarizing many of these. She and Dr. Margo Neale also recently published Songlines: The Power and Promise (Thames & Hudson, 2020) which covers current Australian Aboriginal tribes which use these oral techniques for knowledge transmission as well. The techniques do vary from culture to culture, but on the whole they tend to share many features.

      As others have mentioned, Walter Ong's work, and the book Orality and Literacy (Routledge, 1982) in particular, will provide some additional context.

      On your question of practicality, I'd recommend Kelly's book Memory Craft which currently outlines the broadest number of mnemotechniques out there and provides some advice about which methods are best/better for particular applications. Following this, if necessary, you might focus in on the methods you're interested in most and hone in on other texts, audiobooks, or posts here in the forum.

      Everyone's abilities and needs are slightly different, so experiment a bit to see what appeals to and/or works best for you.

    1. We still do not understand how information practices from the worlds of learning, finance, industry, and administration cross-pollinated. From the fourteenth century onward, accountants developed complex instructions for note-taking to describe holdings and transactions, as well for the recording of numbers and calculations. By the seventeenth century, merchants, and indeed ship captains, engineers, and state administrators, were known to travel with trunks of memoranda, massive inventories, scrap books, and various ledgers and log books that mixed descriptive notes and numbers. By the eighteenth century, tables and printed forms cut down on the need for notes and required less description and more systematic numerical notes. Notaries also were master information handlers, creating archives for their legal and financial documents and cross-referencing catalogue systems.

      I'm noticing no mention here of double entry book keeping or the accountant's idea of waste books.

      There's also no mention of orality or memory methods either.

    2. The humanist remedy for information overload was to produce an unprecedented number of manuals about how to read books. They outlined what Blair calls the four S’s of early modern information management: storage, sorting, selection, summary.

      I'd love to have a list of these and some of their similarities. What would oral cultures have done? How would/did they manage their overflow of information, besides overwriting the new/improved and forgetting the old/unuseful?

  6. Oct 2020
    1. It looks to me like Andy and Michael are grasping at recreating with modern technology and tools what many (most? all?) indigenous cultures around the world used to ritually learn and memorize their culture's knowledge. Mnemonics, spaced repetition, graded initiation, orality, dance, and song were all used as a cohesive whole to do this.

      The best introduction to many of these methods and their pedagogic uses is best described by Lynne Kelly's book Knowledge and Power in Prehistoric Societies: Orality, Memory, and the Transmission of Culture.

      If they take her ideas as a basis and then layer on their own thinking, I think they'll get much further much quicker. Based on my reading of their work thus far, they're limiting themselves.

    1. In most oral societies, however, traditions are understood to bemalleable; that is, they are supposed to be changed and made relevant to the new situationsin which they are cited.

      And this is almost just what we see in modern religion concerning the bible. Even though it's written down, people read the words and change their original meaning and intent to make them relevant to their modern lives rather than the older historical context in which they were originally created.

    1. Sioned Davies is Chair of Welsh at Cardiff University. Her special interest is the interplay between orality and literacy, together with the performance aspects of medieval Welsh narrative.

      Oh! This is fascinating. Perhaps some interesting tidbits for my growing theory about the borders of orality and literacy could be hiding in some of her research?

  7. Feb 2019
    1. omen's rheloric should focus on the art of conversation

      What would Ong say about this??

    2. I have made no distinction in what has been said between Speaking and Writing, because tho they are talenL'i which do not always meet, yet >"'1•""�� there is no material difference between 'cm.

      I think Ong would take issue with the notion that there is no "material difference" between speaking and writing. Writing is a "technology" so to speak, and thus presents itself differently than mere thought through speaking. One can go back and edit writing, whereas orality is not so easily done.

  8. Jan 2019
    1. xcessive power granted tolanguage to determine what is rea

      Ong talks about this on Orality and Literacy--if an idea is written down, it is understood as being more "real" than ideas that are spoken. I wonder how this translates into digital communication?

  9. Mar 2017
    1. Writing, he claims, is prior to speech-not historically, of course, but conceptually, in that writing shows more clearly than speech does how language is different from what it sup-posedly represents.

      I have never been able to reconcile this with Ong's approach, that even writing involves sounding words out in your head. The text here is making it out that Derrida's only using it as an example, that both are equally at a remove, which, fair enough, but I'm not seeing how writing has primacy over speech. Bail me out here, y'all.

    1. Why, we ask at once, was there no continuous writing done by women before the eighteenth century?

      Point raised by Fr. Ong in The Presence of the Word "With the appearance of what we have called the sound-sight split in Latin, that stream of the language which developed into the modern romance vernaculars remained in use in the home, but the other stream known as Learned Latin, which moved only in artificially controlled channels through the male world of the schools was no longer anyone's mother tongue, in a quite literal sense." There was an active language-world for women in ancient Rome, but its one that was not recorded, and is now lost to time.

  10. Sep 2016
    1. There are different testing styles. Like some people will write a paragraph in one text, while others, will hit send everytime they would have taken a breath had they been saying those words

      Now this is a fascinating possibility, texting for some is an almost direct oral crossover from speech where you hit enter "everytime you would have taken a breath"