The Genesis of Civilisation

“The birth of writing was the genesis of civilisation. For the first time knowledge could be accumulated and handed on to future generations in a way that exceeded, in quantity and quality, the scope of unaided memory. Few things have been more significant for the development of homo sapiens, the being whose period of dependency is longer, and whose genetically encoded instincts are fewer, than any other. Humanity’s uniqueness lies in the fact that we are, par excellence, the learning animal. Writing was the breakthrough by which the present could hand on the lessons of the past to the generations of the future. It led to a quantum leap in the growth of knowledge and skills and to a huge acceleration in the pace of change in human affairs.”

The Dignity of Difference, p. 112