A great mystery: where does writing come from?

Writing: the mysterious invention that allowed evolution!

Imagine a world without writing… Impossible, you would say! And for good reason: we need it every day! Let us now see how it was born and all its benefits over humanity…

The article on the Fantastic you very much liked, I am delighted. It was a question of evoking the origins of a universe that carries the Nayra saga. Starting from this momentum of origins, I would like to talk with you today about those we particularly love, readers and authors: writing.


What is writing?

Let’s start with the basics: what is writing? It is a means of communication, representing language, through the inscription of signs on various media. Each culture has its own graphic, but respects the same structure: vocabulary, speech, semantics, grammar. A writing system is an organized, language-based method for storing and transmitting messages. These systems can be classified into three categories: semmasiographies (although specialists do not agree to consider them as scriptures), logographic writings and syllabic scriptures.

Where does the writing come from?

According to some, Prehistory ends with the birth of writing. Historically, writing was born 6000 years ago, in Mesopotamia and Egypt, and almost simultaneously, but nevertheless differentiated. However, the recent development of literacy studies leads to a reassessment of the dates of writing. The development of writing has undoubtedly been influenced by pragmatic requirements such as the codification of laws, the exchange of information, the recording of history, and the keeping of financial accounts. Thus, writing allowed the preservation of history.

The alphabet is a system of writing, composed of a set of symbols. “The oldest traces of the ancestor of all the present alphabets are located in the Sinai desert around the fifteenth century BC. J.-C “(Wikipedia source).


Some authors of fantasy and science fiction have invented an imaginary alphabet to develop their universes: the tengwar (The Lord of the Rings, J.R.R. Tolkien), the Enochian (John Dee) …

Some religious systems saw writing as a threat to oral transmission and the existing order. Moreover, according to an ancient Egyptian myth taken up by Platon in the Phaedrus, writing and language were invented by the god Thot, nicknamed the “lord of time”; Considered as the one who holds knowledge and transmits it, as the incarnation of intelligence and speech, charged with transmitting his unlimited knowledge, he would have invented writing to do this! Writing would thus aim to restore order, notably by forming legal systems, to preserve history and to spread knowledge.


The impact of writing

Writing has had a strong cultural and social impact. These effects will be multiplied with the mechanization of writing by printing. It is only necessary to note all the works which are sold by millions in the world and which have a considerable influence on our culture and our way of thinking about life and the world.

The Bible, for example, has passed over 2500 million copies throughout history; The Little Red Book has sold more than 900 million copies and the Koran has more than 800 million copies! These three books have been the most sold in the world for centuries and have never been dethroned until now! These writings have a direct impact on our way of life, our way of thinking and acting.

According to linguists, out of about 3,000 languages listed in the world, hardly a hundred are written.


In conclusion, I find it exciting to say that despite the technologies we have, we are at the moment not sure about the appearance of writing. Each new discovery can challenge the history that we took for granted. Still today, writing remains a great mystery because no one really knows how it appeared … only certainty: without it, we would have a hard time explaining the universe, life and the world, to communicate , To immortalize our memories, to entertain us, to express our emotions, our feelings, to develop our imagination and to leave traces to help the future generations, because writing is what makes us human beings at the forefront of evolution.

“Writing is the painting of the voice,” Voltaire.

Article written by Maud Wlek, author of Nayra.

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