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# Because we have so deeply interiorized writing, we find it difficult t

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Because we have so deeply interiorized writing, we find it difficult t  [#permalink]

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Updated on: 20 Mar 2019, 08:12
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New Project RC Butler 2019 - Practice 2 RC Passages Everyday
Passage # 95, Date : 20-MAR-2019
This post is a part of New Project RC Butler 2019. Click here for Details

Because we have so deeply interiorized writing, we find it difficult to consider writing to be an alien technology, as we commonly assume printing and the computer to be. Most people are surprised to learn that essentially the same objections commonly urged today against computers were urged by Plato in the Phaedrus, against writing.

Writing, Plato has Socrates say, is inhuman, pretending to establish outside the mind what in reality can be only in the mind. Secondly, Plato‘s Socrates urges, writing destroys memory. Those who use writing will become forgetful, relying on external resource for what they lack in internal resources. Thirdly, a written text is basically unresponsive, whereas real speech and thought always exist essentially in a context of give-and-take between real persons.

Without writing, words as such have no visual presence, even when the objects they represent are visual. Thus, for most literates, to think of words as totally disassociated from writing is psychologically threatening, for literates‘ sense of control over language is closely tied to the visual transformations of language. Writing makes ―words‖ appear similar to things because we think of words as the visible marks signalling words to decoders, and we have an inability to represent to our minds a heritage of verbally organized materials except as some variant of writing. A literate person, asked to think of the word ―nevertheless‖ will normally have some image of the spelled-out word and be quite unable to think of the word without adverting to the lettering. Thus the thought processes of functionally literate human beings do not grow out of simply natural powers but out of these powers as structured by the technology of writing.

Without writing, human consciousness cannot achieve its fuller potentials, cannot produce other beautiful and powerful creations. Literacy is absolutely necessary for the development not only of science, but also of history, philosophy, explicative understanding of literature and of any art, and indeed for the explanation of language (including oral speech) itself. Literate users of a grapholect such as standard English have access to vocabularies hundreds of times larger than any oral language can manage. Thus, in many ways, writing heightens consciousness. Technology, properly interiorized, does not degrade human life but enhances it.

In the total absence of any writing, there is nothing outside the writer, no text, to enable him or her to produce the same line of thought again or even verify whether he has done so or not. In primary oral culture, to solve effectively the problem of retaining and retrieving carefully articulated thought, you have to do your thinking in mnemonic patterns, shaped for ready oral recurrence. A judge in an oral culture is often called upon to articulate sets of relevant proverbs out of which he can produce equitable decisions in the cases under formal litigation under him. The more sophisticated orally patterned thought is, the more it is likely to be marked by set expressions skilfully used. Among the ancient Greeks, Hesiod, who was intermediate between oral Homeric Greece and fully developed Greek literacy, delivered quasiphilosophic material in the formulaic verse forms from which he had emerged.
Q1). In paragraph 5 of the passage, the author mentions Hesiod (Highlighted) in order to:

A. prove that oral poets were more creative than those who put their verses in written words.
B. show that some sophisticated expressions can be found among the preliterate ancient Greeks.
C. demonstrate that a culture that is partially oral and partially literate forms the basis of an ideal society.
D. thinking in mnemonic patterns is an unsuccessful memory device.
E. no sophisticated expressions could be found among the pre-literate ancient Greeks.

Q2). According to the author, an important difference between oral and literate cultures can be expressed in terms of:

A. extensive versus limited reliance on memory.
B. chaotic versus structured modes of thought.
C. simple versus complex use of language.
D. barbaric versus civilized forms of communication.
E. presence and absence of books

Q3). The author refers to Plato in the first and second paragraphs. He brings the philosopher up primarily in order to:

A. provide an example of literate Greek philosophy.
B. suggest the possible disadvantages of writing.
C. illustrate common misconceptions about writing.
D. define the differences between writing and computer technology.
E. suggest possible benefits of writing

Q4). The passage is primarily concerned with

A. criticising those who speak against ‗writing‘
B. emphasising the importance of writing
C. assert that writing and consciousness are independent of each other
D. documenting the negative effects of writing
E. discussing how writing has influenced human consciousness

Aristotle GMAT RC Definitive Guide: Passage 30
Difficulty Level: 700

Originally posted by GmatWizard on 04 Dec 2018, 07:15.
Last edited by SajjadAhmad on 20 Mar 2019, 08:12, edited 3 times in total.
Updated
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Because we have so deeply interiorized writing, we find it difficult t  [#permalink]

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22 Mar 2019, 08:09
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Nikz021
Mudit27021988

Official Explanation

Topic and Scope

How writing has influenced human consciousness

Mapping the Passage

Para 1 and 2 note that writing was once considered an ―alien‖ technology by outlining Plato‘s objections to it.

Para 3 introduces the author‘s thesis that writing has transformed human consciousness by explaining that thought processes for those who can read depend on writing.

Para 4 argues that human consciousness depends on writing to achieve its full potential, and argues that technology in general can enhance human life.

Para 5 describes how people in a completely oral culture function and gives an example of an intermediate between oral and written cultures.

Q1). In paragraph 5 of the passage, the author mentions Hesiod (Highlighted) in order to:

Explanation

An evaluation question. What is the purpose of mentioning Hesiod at the end of Para 5? The author describes Hesiod as ―intermediate between oral Homeric Greece and fully developed Greek literacy,‖ and immediately before says that ―the more sophisticated orally patterned thought is, the more likely it is likely to be marked by set expressions skillfully used. Paraphrase all this: Hesiod is an example of an oral culture that produced sophisticated thought in sophisticated patterns. (B)paraphrases this.

(A): Distortion. The author suggests that oral poets relied more on ―set expressions skillfully used,‖ but this doesn't mean that oral poets were more creative overall than those who wrote. In fact, the author would certainly argue that the ability to write could only enhance consciousness and vocabulary, and by extension, creativity.

(C): Opposite. Though Hesiod is described as the product of a culture midway between the oral and the written, the author never argues that this is the ideal society. The author believes that writing is important to full human consciousness, and so any ideal society would presumably have to include writing.

(D): Opposite. The author argues in Para 5 that mnemonics are essential to ―retaining and retrieving carefully articulated thought, and therefore must be very successful memory devices.

(E): Extreme language. The author never states this.

Q2). According to the author, an important difference between oral and literate cultures can be expressed in terms of:

Explanation

Review the differences between oral and written cultures, which are mentioned throughout the passage. (A) represents a major difference that author discusses in a few places. The author notes in Para 5 that oral culture depends on mnemonic patterns to remember, and in para 2 the author quotes an ancient objection to writing: ―writing destroys memory. Oral cultures, therefore, rely extensively on memory while written cultures much less so.

(B): Out of Scope. The author doesn't discuss chaotic thought in the passage, noting that thought in oral culture is highly structured.

(C): Out of Scope. The author suggests that writing enables more complex thought, but suggests in para 5 that some oral language can be highly sophisticated and complex.

(D): Out of Scope. The author only draws distinctions between level of advancement in thought; there‘s no suggestion that either type of communication is barbaric.

(E): Not mentioned in the passage

Q3). The author refers to Plato in the first and second paragraphs. He brings the philosopher up primarily in order to:

Explanation

What role does Plato serve in Para 1 and 2? The author says that ―essentially the same objections…were urged by Plato…against writing. The prediction is easy: Plato is used to introduce ancient objections to writing. (B) paraphrases this closely.

(A): Out of Scope. The author doesn't discuss whether Plato‘s philosophy was literate or oral, and Plato is clearly used as more than an example of a type of philosophy: he‘s the source of objections to writing in general.

(C): Out of Scope. The author doesn‘t suggest that Plato‘s objections are misconceptions, and in fact seems to agree with the assertion that writing makes memory less important when discussing oral memorization in para 5.

(D): Out of Scope. The author wants to show similarities between writing and computer technology; there‘s no mention of any differences.

(E): Opposite as explained in B above

Q4). The passage is primarily concerned with

Explanation

A main idea question, E sums up the passage really well as is evident from our passage map.

(A): The passage is not concerned with criticizing anyone

(B): Close but not as clearly worded as option E

(C): Opposite. The passage actually attempts to show the connection between writing and consciousness

(D): The passage never discusses the negative effects of writing

Hope it helps
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##### General Discussion
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Re: Because we have so deeply interiorized writing, we find it difficult t  [#permalink]

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04 Dec 2018, 09:38
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GmatWizard there is no such word as Hesiod mentioned in para 5
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Re: Because we have so deeply interiorized writing, we find it difficult t  [#permalink]

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04 Dec 2018, 19:16
dave13 wrote:
GmatWizard there is no such word as Hesiod mentioned in para 5

Yup its done, thanks for pointing it out
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Re: Because we have so deeply interiorized writing, we find it difficult t  [#permalink]

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11 Jan 2019, 00:47
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can anobody justify the answers of question 3 and question 4?
ques -3 -why the answer is B and not C
ques -4 - why the answer is E and not B
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Re: Because we have so deeply interiorized writing, we find it difficult t  [#permalink]

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12 Jan 2019, 05:32
Can you please explain why in question 2 Option A is correct.

Passage clearly says (last line para 2): Thus the thought processes of functionally literate human beings do not grow out of simply natural powers but out of these powers as structured by the technology of writing.

Hence option B looks like a better contender.

On the other hand Option A is something that is said by Plato but not by author himself.

As said byplato:

Those who use writing will become forgetful, relying on external resource for what they lack in internal resources

Posted from my mobile device
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Re: Because we have so deeply interiorized writing, we find it difficult t  [#permalink]

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08 Mar 2019, 05:24
Took 9:06 min in total including 5:05 to read the passage!

Passage Map:

1) Objection
2) Cons of writing
3) Pros: Visual
4) Pros: Consciousness
5) Pros: Memory
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Re: Because we have so deeply interiorized writing, we find it difficult t  [#permalink]

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20 Mar 2019, 08:14
+1 Kudos to posts containing answer explanation of all questions
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Re: Because we have so deeply interiorized writing, we find it difficult t   [#permalink] 20 Mar 2019, 08:14
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