Writing: The Skill of this Century

Non-fiction Apr 15, 2020

The examples used in this article are solely for the purpose of illustrating my point, and not subject to generalisations. Also, I do not have any left-wing or right-wing inclinations, so don’t make any assumptions about me.

Reasons for the rise in writing are surprisingly complex. If I ask myself, it is astonishing to see how such a skill has developed and retained its original crux, while all other skills and activities of mankind have evolved over time. Humans, as a collective, used to eat differently, in different quantities, and with different purposes ages ago (simply surviving). We used to wear clothes differently, and for much simpler reasons (until Fashion design presented itself). We used to fight with each other in different forms than we do today. Almost everything has now changed in form, but the essence of writing in my opinion has remained the same (except the modern idea of typing on device, which doesn’t really change the essence of writing in any tangible way). Man/woman wrote with the same pleasures and for the same purposes yesterday. Some people still hate writing, and some people still can’t get enough of it (yeah, I know, kind of sounds like me). So writing is an irreplaceable skill whose power doesn’t deplete. It has inspired generations in the past, and will continue to do so. And while I make statements about the immortal nature of writing, this is not what makes writing so important a skill. Look at it practically: not everyone wants to write the Rosetta Stone or an everlasting piece of literature all the time.

I am in a situation right now where I have written nearly 10,000 words in the past couple of days (as part of my academic work and hobbies), and this is alongside doing assignments and other work not related to writing. But I have also been surprisingly thinking (a rarity, if you ask me). My thoughts have led me to assess how important writing is becoming in this day and age. While looking at the history of writing, we know how it is inevitably correlated with the advent of language in itself.
Once the requirement to document information and interesting tales came to light to one of the first humans, writing followed. In fact, I may point out writing became such an obsession that humans would search for different places to write their legacies on. Sometimes it would be clay, sometimes leaves, and I am pretty sure personal diaries with secrets (like who you would have pranked by stealing that chicken) would be written on cave walls.

So what is important to look at to realise the power of writing, is to see the infinite roles that it has acquired through ages. By that logic the length of this post should also be infinite. Chuck, let’s look at awesome-sauce developments in the human race and associate it with writing (and while fictional literature are obvious ones, won’t address them in this article). Knowing myself, I would pounce on ideology and how writing is affected by it. On surface level, one can see how all revolutions and assertions in ideology came through the concept of political writing. Chanakya and Niccolo Machiavelli were relevant examples of writings about manoeuvring yourself to a higher position in an imperial society. A monarchy is based on the concept of one against all, who conquers over who, and individual monarchy is the best morality, innit? Anyway, that controversial discussion is for another day, but these writers established the power of their thoughts through good writing. Writing became a source of driving action. Then we arrived to a man like Karl Marx, who used "Bro-code" to inspire everyone. He wrote about the collective instead of a monarchy, and like a self-driven ideological beast that he was, invented the concept of left wing politics. But as we went back to ideas of a democracy, things between the left wing and the right wing became much more complicated and led to the Cold War (which is a discussion for another day).

Some of you Socrates-lovers might point out how Socrates got away with influencing everyone through oral communication instead of writing, but may I point out that his ideas were brilliantly illustrated by his pupil Plato on paper, and we know of him now because of Plato’s writings.

Anyway, while I have illustrated how writing has been placed on a pedestal thanks to ideology, it would be right to arrive to the individual’s importance of writing. Why should you gain skill in writing if you don’t want to outline political agenda? We are in a world of presentation. While in the world of yesterday, action was more important, we see day-by-day that the present is characterised by a confidence in rhetoric and pushing the self forward on paper. How do you do that? You guessed it right, it’s through writing (if you didn’t guess it right, I advise you to start this article from the beginning). If I present myself solid and different on paper, nobody can stop me. Remember that this is a world characterised by the rise in Trump, who wrote some undoubtedly powerful books like “The Art of the Deal” to climb up the ladder to run for president. Entire authoritarian governments ask for good writers who can write “official records” of history (if you’re up for it, apply quick!).

Writing seeps into any and every part of procedure in the world. If you write good, nobody can touch you (as I have reinforced throughout this article). I am writing about writing because it is a timeless skill, and in this ever-complicated world full of weird variables, the only saviour that can possibly give you bread without any risks, is writing.

You may have heard “Pen is mightier than the sword” (thanks to it being overused by writer wannabes who don’t even know the true meaning of it), but now you have to embrace it. Go write, and earn what you deserve!

– -Svanik Surve

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