Purveyor of beauty Khoi Vinh laments the deteriorating state of his handwriting.
I’ve noticed the same with my handwriting. He and his readers draw the conclusion that beautiful writing is a casualty of technology. I recently had a related insight, about technology’s impact on beauty in general.
Tim Sneath recently helped the British Library digitize some of the most beautiful handwritten books in history. The moment of insight came to me several months ago as I was looking through the copy of William Blake’s notebook hosted therein. As you read through his notes (and those of the other great thinkers represented there), you’re struck by how much effort it must have taken to distill and refine his thoughts. Looking through the notebook, you realize that this was Blake contemplating and refining insights which would eventually become jewels of wisdom. This was his thought process, an extension of his mind.
It’s hard to imagine using such crappy tools as pen and paper to do serious thinking today. If Da Vinci, Blake, and Milton were able to reach such heights of wisdom without copy/paste, search, C-Pen, Amazon.com, and keyboards — what does that say about people today? We ought to be able to arrive at truth 100x quicker than they did, but we definitely don’t.