symbols, scratches, community, communication


Quite often, we take writing for granted. The sublime simplicity of mere symbols or scratches on a page escapes our attention as we search for more significant sources of meaning in a memory that can be only fleeting and fragmentary at best. But what could be more fundamental to our source of self and community than language and, by extension, writing? Human beings could not be saved from living in an eternal present if they lacked the ability given them by language to reflect. Community with others can be formed only if there is a means of preserving and sharing the memory of this reflection. The historian, in this capacity, becomes a prophet who by the power of his organizing pen creates history by calling it forth from the absolute chaos of past-lived experience, and by so doing he can empower emerging empires, depose demigods, name nations, and create communities along the way. All chis from a few scribbles and symbols situated precariously on a page.