I was watching a video tonight of a calligrapher, writing with a class quill pen and inkwell. So many things stood out to me – the craftsmanship, the beauty of the art, the dedication required, the sheer focus and elegance.
One thing stood above the rest, though. You can see an interesting mental process occur when watching someone write with an inkwell and quill. Every few words or so, they have to stop to re-apply the ink to the quill. You can’t rush a letter written in this way. If you haven’t given sufficient forethought to what you’ll write, it’s a painful decision to scrap what you’ve written thus far. It is more costly than simply scratching it out, or deleting an email – there is a mental and even emotional investment into the message being communicated.
Beyond the emotional investment, there is a sense of singular focus, and a sense of purpose of the message being written. You don’t simply relay a message because you feel like it, or because you’re bored. No one is writing ???? with an inkwell. Yes, the singular sense of focus, of mission, of purpose – we’ve lost that.
We’re in a more or less magical time of human history. Things that are possible, even common, today would never have been dreamt of one hundred years ago. In five years time, people will be solving problems that we cannot even fathom existentially today. In all of our advancement, I feel we’ve lost something. With everything at our fingertips, by losing the very mediums that force our fingertips to pause, that force them to focus, to consider what they’re actually doing – we’ve lost something precious.
As a developer and a business owner, a husband and a father, a learner and a believer – I want to be someone who can re-learn what it means to pause. I want to learn what it means to walk in the tension of excellence that requires restraint, that requires waiting. I want to find my inkwell.