The Pen is Mightier Than the Keyboard
Updated: 46 minutes ago
Brig. Gen. "Bud" Anderson signing his name on a P51 Mustang at Truckee Tahoe Airport
The evolution of a vanishing art:
My mom garbled a text message to me recently. She said Siri must have misunderstood her.
“Siri? Seriously? You don’t have time to write… a text?" I asked. And like the crack of a whip it struck me: We're dumbing down with technology, and the art of writing is drifting into the ozone along with our thinking caps. (Nothing against you, mom... just an observation!)
We've gone from handwriting, to email, to text messages, to abbreviated texts, and now we're letting AI do all the work for us. And in the process of speeding things up, we've allowed the art of handwriting to slip away.
"The English language faces a new threat in the rise of the Internet, with its texting and tweeting, its email and chatrooms. Surely the craft of written expression has declined since the days before smartphones and the Web." ~ Steven Pinker, The Sense of Style
What the hell have we done to ourselves? We're dumbing down... and we need to stop the slide.
What's In It For You
Yes, it's easier, quicker, and sometimes safer to communicate in other ways. But none more potentially nourishing, elevating and humane as an actual handwritten note. And there are compelling benefits from using a pen vs. a keyboard.
As AI gains traction, handwritten exchanges deserve to make a comeback now more than ever.
When was the last time you wrote a handwritten letter to someone you cared about?
When was the last time you received a handwritten letter from someone you care about?
It felt good, didn't it?
According to a study by Fred Backus with CBS News, it's been well over seven years since most Americans have received handwritten letters. For many others it's been even longer.
"In a digital world, where it can take five seconds to send an email or WhatsApp, there's something incredibly human and personal about getting a handwritten letter or card," says Robert Van Den Bergh, co-founder & CEO of Channel. "A hand-addressed envelope with a real stamp and luxury note inside is very tactile. One of the oldest forms of communication, handwriting is innately human."
But do we really need Robert Van Den Bergh to tell us this?
There's an element of deeper connection when we send and receive handwritten letters. You know this is true. You like getting handwritten notes and letters as much as me and everyone else. The choice to write with pen on paper, (or a P51 Mustang for that matter), and the time it takes, creates a shared intimate experience. One that's more meaningful, more valuable and lasting than a text.
The Pen Compels Lucidity
Studies have shown you not only learn faster and more comprehensively when you take notes by hand, you better remember what you’ve learned. It also helps you refine what you think about. Handwriting clarifies the mind, providing room for quiet, private reflection.
Handwriting engages your brain’s learning centers more directly due to the literal physical connection between your hands and your thoughts. Studies show when people take notes on a keyboard, they tend to record what’s being said verbatim, whereas people who take notes by hand tend to think about the concepts in their own words, demonstrating active processing of concepts.
We're bombarded with emails, pop-ups and messages on our phones and laptops all day long, most of which get buried, never to surface again. There are fewer distractions while handwriting - no pop-ups for our mind and eyes to get lost in a sea of shiny things.
Writing is thinking. Handwriting is usually challenging because it involves a lot of thinking and brain power. But when we write by hand our brain is more engaged and it increases our clarity, focus and productivity. It makes you feel good to send and receive handwritten letters. It's more meaningful than an email or text. And writing by hand makes us smarter.
As I type this on my laptop, I'm waiting for a handwritten letter from my mom. And for the record, I've written every word you see here with a pen in my Journal.
Call to Action!
Take a moment to write in your Journal. Write a letter to someone you care about. Handwrite a note to someone who went above and beyond. Don't let technology dumb-us-down. Let's not let the art of handwriting - and this important form of humanity - slip away.
Hello! I’m Michael Kennedy, Olympic Valley, CA resident. I’m a freelance writer and photographer. Thanks for reading. If you enjoyed it, please share with others. I value your attention, it means a lot to me and it helps others see the story. If you're interested in any awe-inspired photos in my gallery: click here, or just call or text at 530.608.9150. Let me know what size you want, and I'll send a quote. My email: firstname.lastname@example.org.