The Writer's Debt

Keep Going…

Clément Renaud, [email protected], https://clementrenaud.com

The merging of oral and writing practices lead us to forget what the real difference between the both are. A good example is the email writing culture. With its endless signatures and robotic politeness, it feels stuck somewhere between the flowery language of epistolary exchanges in the 19th century and the cold tone of administrative interactions. “Sincerely, best regards”. For anyone who interact with Asians, the lively chat culture is refreshing and made even better by the total absence of emails. Chat groups are the new way to socialise, discuss, decide, pay, lend, meet, organise, etc.

One of the big difference is that a chat automatically demands action. I will avoid reading a long bullet point list with important words in bold, while I will be willing to answer a simple and well-formulated question. The price of reading is too high.

These days, the economy of writing has been reversed. Writing is more costly for the reader than for the writer. The power is in the reader’s hands. In many cases, writers pay to be read - with major examples like advertisement or academia. Their main role to produce reactions from the readers. Most writings reflects only the writer’s investment. How much words in how much time?

One of the important things I learnt from China is that talk is cheap but writings matter. The idea of a general system of interconnected and distributed system where all writings are equal is an illusion. The Internet is just the direct continuation of the institutions of writings that have been built over the centuries.

Writing is about defining truth. Ecclesiastic institutions or banks hold this capacity. Internet platforms too. The power structure isn’t renewed because a larger number of people can write - because what they write does not matter. Nobody will read it. Even if they do, it will get lost because it does not aim at defining truth.

The toxicity of reading still an unthinkable debate, as writing and reading is supposedly the way we humans elevate above our animal condition. Still, the writer’s debt to the reader is becoming a major public health issue. To survive I may need to kill my Amazon Reader’s guilt list. I want a like or retweet button for marketing and money. I want a “DELETE THIS LINK FROM MY LIFE” button for my own sanity. I need an AI to help me decide if that specific writer has invested enough energy in defining truth while he was putting words down.

Before being writers we are readers. We seek for real knowledge. We do the actual work, on the field, asking questions. We started SCALE by sharing links, generating noise from noise, the echo chamber of a spam machine. Now we take time to appreciate the small, the silence.

We commit to write weekly just to keep going. Consolidate ideas, formulate better and of course promote our stuff and what we believe in. In a world of relativeness, we seek truth - and our method is simple: enjoying it!

SCALE 16 is there and there is barely anything in it. Who has time to read anyway?