Essay on A Summary of David Abram’s Animism and the Alphabet

2172 Words Oct 6th, 2013 9 Pages
Isaiah Graham
ENG 11-940
A Summary of David Abram’s Animism and the Alphabet
David Abram’s selection, “Animism and the Alphabet” conveys that human’s disconnection from the natural world is partially at fault with the alphabet, it also asserts that alphabet originates from the natural world. Abrams supports his ideas by mentioning several great thinkers throughout history including Plato, Socrates and others. Abram’s also compares modern ways to the customs of indigenous people. The main purpose of Abram’s paper is to convey the idea that people have disconnected from the natural world, and one of the main reasons for this is the alphabet. The alphabet is not portrayed as a bad thing, but as a tool that has both
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Some would say that this was an improvement and the Greeks would agree. Others would say this was just another step in our departure from nature. The beginning of this departure would appear to have started with the aleph-beth, but the Greeks took the system and stripped it of all natural references. Abrams begins the next section of the text by referring to Socrates. Socrates says “I’m a lover of learning, and trees and country won’t teach me anything, whereas men in the town do” (pg. 34). This begins a long discussion on whether or not the human race has learned anything from the natural world. Homer is mentioned several times and it becomes apparent that throughout his tales the Iliad and the Odyssey nature is seen as a supreme being. The Greek gods are portrayed by the natural world, so how could Socrates say something as controversial as the Earth won’t teach him anything. In part it is because the Greek society relied extensively on the social aspect of life. Most Athenians learned from men in the city and not from the Earth around them, so there was no real way for them to conceive the idea that nature could teach. There were a few who looked beyond this however and saw the natural world for what it was. Abrams continues on by explaining that the Greeks were an oral culture and the alphabet was still being learned. Homers epics were the first stories to ever be written down by the Greeks. This seems slightly ironic
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