The Beauty of the Pre-Telephone Writers: With Concentration on Einstein

A short piece I forgot I wrote…

6/6/15 Reading this Einstein book (Einsteins bibliography by Walter Isaacson) I was shocked by the beauty in which the people of his time wrote with. I could not understand why they could write with such fluidity and elegance. Indeed, every letter that Isaacson includes in the biography (mostly Einsteins) is written so well and it is quite apparent the care that each writer took. After reading the first 200+ pages I realized they were just excellent writers back then simply because that was the only was to communicate long distance. They had, therefore, been writing their entire lives. The beauty of an ordinary letter, perhaps a birthday card, took me by surprise, let alone a love letter written by a 16 year old Einstein to his beloved Mileva. It seems, because of technology, that the written (and spoken?) word has all but been extinguished in comparison to those who lived pre telephone. With ease we can contact anyone anywhere without writing a thing and as great an innovation as this, it is not without a loss, one in which our society, and our world, has largely lost the ability to write beautifully. There are of course many current writers who can write very well, but on average, the style of an everyday man or woman has been lost to innovation. We have destroyed our ability to write. Because there was such an abundance of written letters back then, it is easy to get a direct glimpse, straight from the source of what people were really like, not a secondhand account or a retelling. I urge you to at least explore the written world pre-1876 which in fact was not invented by Alexander Graham Bell, at least not independently and possible not at all. Additionally I urge you to read the Albert Einstein biography by the great and talented Walter Isaacson which is as close to being exhaustive as a biography of a dead man can be. Isaacson also has written what I imagine are tremendous biographies on Benjamin Franklin and Steve Jobs although I have not yet read them.


About ben james

"The stars keep me up at night" -some song I heard one time Human. Studying the intersection of Neuroscience and Computation. Wanna be (astro) physicist.
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