Writing, as Socrates, pointed out, is an information technology of absence.
Yes, we don't need the speaker-become-writer to be present, but, as Socrates and Barthes so famously point out, writing kills in several ways:
We no longer need the presence of the author. Indeed, we no longer need the author at all. (Thus Socrates's myth about the origins of writing makes Thanatos, the god of Death, its inventor.)
The act of communication itself loses the input of the audience (formerly the listener): no clues from facial expression, body language, or explicit questioning. One-way communication: monologue, not dialogue.
The strengths of writing include abstraction, concision, and fixity; the weaknesses of writing include abstraction, concision, and fixity. From the point of view of an oral culture, writing is dead.
Therefore, Derrida claims Western culture is permeated by an obsession with presence. (What else could explain all those instructional CD-ROMs with video presentations of talking heads that take up lots of bits and bytes when one or two sentences of print would do a better job?)
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