The invention of "writing" was around 3300 B.C.
Richard Overy, editor of "The Times Complete History of the World" stated in "The 50 Key Dates of World History" (Oct. 19, 2007): "No date appears before the start of human civilizations about 5,500 years ago and the beginning of a written or pictorial history."
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Astrophysicist Neil deGrasse Tyson stated in the Cosmos TV series (2014, natgeotv.com, episode 10, "The Immortals"): "It was the people who once lived here, around 5,000 years ago, who first started chopping up time into smaller bite-size portions of hours and minutes. They call this place Uruk. We call it Iraq. The part of Mesopotamia – the land between the Tigris and Euphrates Rivers. The 'city' was invented here. And one of humanities greatest victories was won over the ceaseless battle of time. It was here that we learned how to write."
Writing was first on pieces of clay, then on papyrus reeds from the Nile Delta, and palm leaves, bark, bones and stone. Writing was then made on parchment from the skins of sheep and goats, and on vellum made from calfskin.
China's writing in bamboo annal books was invented around 2600 B.C. during the reign of the legendary Yellow Emperor. Around the same time, writing appeared in the Harappan civilization along the Indus River Valley in Punjab and Sindh. Reading and writing was, for the most part, limited to the rulers. It was the communication of the deep state class who wanted to control the ignorant and uneducated masses.
Anthropologist Claude Levi Strauss (1908-2008) wrote: "Ancient writing's main function was to facilitate the enslavement of other human beings."
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George Orwell wrote in his foreboding novel, "Nineteen Eighty-Four": "In the long run, a hierarchical society was only possible on a basis of poverty and ignorance."
James Madison wrote to W.T. Barry, Aug. 4, 1822: "Knowledge will forever govern ignorance."
Scribes kept court records of the king's treasures, decrees, genealogy, astronomical observations, myths, and royal propaganda. In order to carry out the king's will, some in the administrative class and military were granted security clearance to learn the secret of reading and writing. Only one percent of Egypt could read and write. It was the scribes' secret knowledge.
The National Archaeological Museum in Athens, Greece, in its section on Egyptian Artifacts, has a display on "Scribes," stating: "Only a small percentage of ancient Egypt's population was literate, namely the pharaoh, members of the royal family, officials, priests and scribes. Particularly popular and lucrative, the scribe's profession was mostly hereditary. Scribes had careers in the government, priesthood, and army. They began their rigorous training in their early childhood. Most of their training took place inside a building called the "House of Life," attached to the temple. Scribes wrote on stone or clay shards."
The elite ruling classes have always kept common people and slaves uninformed and prevented from communicating. This has been seen repeatedly throughout history, from Islam's burning of libraries and forbidding followers to read the Bible, to the banning and burning of books, to the confiscation of printing presses, to restricting talk radio, to censoring the internet.
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Thomas Aquinas wrote of Mohammed in "Summa contra Gentiles," 1258 A.D. (Bk 1, Chp 6, trans. Anton C. Pegis, University of Notre Dame Press, 1975): "Those who believed in him were ... desert wanderers, utterly ignorant. ... It was a shrewd decision on his part to forbid his followers to read the Old and New Testaments, lest these books convict him of falsity."
Thomas Jefferson wrote to William Branch Giles, December of 1794 ("The Jeffersonian Cyclopedia," John P. Foley, ed., NY, Funk & Wagnalls Co., 1900, No. 2177; Paul Leicester Ford, ed., vi, 515): "The attempt which has been made to restrain the liberty of our citizens meeting together, interchanging sentiments on what subjects they please, and stating their sentiments in the public papers, has come upon us a full century earlier than I expected."
Limiting knowledge was seen in America prior to the Civil War where Southern Democrat states made it illegal for slaves to learn how to read and write. North Carolina passed an Act in 1831: "Whereas the teaching of slaves to read and write, has a tendency to excite dissatisfaction in their minds, and to produce insurrection and rebellion. ... Be it enacted ... That any free person, who shall hereafter teach, or attempt to teach, any slave within the State to read or write ... shall be liable to indictment ... and upon conviction, shall ... be fined not less than one hundred dollars ... imprisoned, or whipped."
Ancient Israel was the first nation where the general population was literate. Levites taught the people the law, and taught them how to read the law. Israel functioned as a Hebrew republic for four hundred years before they sinned by asking for a king.
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The democracy of ancient Athens and the republic of ancient Rome also required citizens to be educated and informed.
Thomas Sowell wrote in "Degeneration of Democracy," June 2010: "A democracy needs informed citizens if it is to thrive, or ultimately even survive."
In "The Lessons of History" (Simon & Schuster, 1968, p. 77), Will and Ariel Durant wrote: "Democracy is the most difficult of all forms of government, since it requires the widest spread of intelligence. ... Ignorance ... lends itself to manipulation by the forces that mold public opinion."
James Madison wrote to W.T. Barry, Aug. 4, 1822: "A people who mean to be their own Governors, must arm themselves with the power which knowledge gives. ... A popular government without popular information, or the means of acquiring it, is but a prologue to a farce or a tragedy, or perhaps both."
As seen in Ancient Israel, Athens or Rome, for people to rule themselves in a democracy or republic, the people need to be educated and informed. Therefore, whoever controls education and information controls the country.
The country is controlled by laws;laws are controlled by politicians; politicians are controlled by voters;voters are controlled by public opinion;public opinion is controlled by the media (news, Hollywood, internet) and education;so whoever controlls media and education, controls the country.
George Orwell commented on controlling education in his novel "1984": "If the Party could thrust its hand into the past and say of this or that event, it never happened – that, surely, was more terrifying than mere torture and death? And if all others accepted the lie which the Party imposed – if all records told the same tale – then the lie passed into history and became truth. 'Who controls the past', ran the Party slogan, 'controls the future who controls the present controls the past.' And when memory failed and written records were falsified – when that happened, the claim of the Party to have improved the conditions of human life had got to be accepted, because there did not exist, and never again could exist, any standards against which it could be tested."
The Chinese developed the process of making paper from tree pulp or rags. Beginning in 175 A.D., during the Han Dynasty, Chinese scholars placed paper over stone engravings of Confucius text and made rubbings with charcoal. This developed into laying paper over raised stone letters covered with ink, a technique which spread to other countries like Japan, where a Nara Empress printed a Buddhist charm in 768 A.D.
Using a method with carved wooden or baked clay blocks, China, during the Tang Dynasty, created what could be considered the first "printed" book in 868 A.D. In China, Bi Sheng invented movable type printing with porcelain characters during the Song Dynasty, 1041, leading to China being the first country to have printed "paper currency."
Printing of currency, using copper plates, occurred on a mass scale during Kublai Khan's Yuan Dynasty, 1215-1294, even being mentioned by Marco Polo. China's over-printing of currency led to it being devalued, resulting in an exploding inflation. Ultimately, the currency depreciated by 1,000 percent causing the country to become politically unstable. This contributed to ending the Mongolian Yuan Dynasty in 1368.
The shear number of Chinese characters, over 50,000, discouraged China from making further printing innovations. In 1234, Korea's Goryeo Dynasty invented the first "metal" movable type printing press. In 1443, Korean King Sejong introduced a 24-letter hangeul alphabet which made printing practical.
Whereas China used pictogram characters, and Egypt used hieroglyphs, Western Civilization had been using a phonetic characters dating back to a Semitic alphabet around 1500 B.C. It was not until 1400 A.D. that Europeans first began using carved wooden blocks applied with ink to print religious messages.
On the other side of the globe from Korea, a printing press was invented in Germany by Johannes Gutenberg – the Western world's first "metal moveable type" printing press.
On Aug. 24, 1455, Gutenberg printed his masterpiece, the Gutenberg Bible, regarded as the first book of significance ever printed. No longer copied tediously by the hands of scribes, Bibles were soon mass produced.
Gutenberg, whose name means "beautiful mountain," wrote about his 42-line Gutenberg Bible, also called the Mazarin Bible, 1455: "God suffers in the multitude of souls whom His word can not reach. Religious truth is imprisoned in a small number of manuscript books which confine instead of spread the public treasure. Let us break the seal which seals up holy things and give wings to Truth in order that she may win every soul that comes into the world by her word no longer written at great expense by hands easily palsied, but multiplied like the wind by an untiring machine. ..."
Gutenberg continued: "Yes, it is a press, certainly, but a press from which shall flow in inexhaustible streams the most abundant and most marvelous liquor that has ever flowed to relieve the thirst of men. Through it, God will spread His word; a spring of pure truth shall flow from it; like a new star it shall scatter the darkness of ignorance, and cause a light hithertofore unknown to shine among men."
In March of 1455, future Pope Pius II commented on Gutenberg's Bible in a letter to Cardinal Carvajal: "All that has been written to me about that marvelous man seen at Frankfurt is true. I have not seen complete Bibles but only a number of quires of various books of the Bible. The script was very neat and legible, not at all difficult to follow – your grace would be able to read it without effort, and indeed without glasses."
Unfortunately for Gutenberg, he had borrowed 8,000 guilders from Johann Fust, who sued him at the archbishop's court in 1456 and took the print shop, leaving Gutenberg bankrupt. Gutenberg re-started a smaller print shop, and participated in printing Bibles in the town of Bamberg.
Gutenberg's invention was considered the most important event of the modern period as it began a printing revolution which spread knowledge, information and ideas at an unprecedented speed.
Gutenberg's invention significantly fueled Europe's Renaissance, Reformation, Age of Enlightenment and the Scientific Revolution. No longer was knowledge and information solely under the control of the elite ruling class.
Later generations also experienced innovations whereby individuals could communicate information with large numbers of people through theater, music, talk radio, television, telephone and the internet, though each method has seen attempts by those in power to regulate and control it.
Victor Hugo wrote in "The Hunchback of Notre Dame," 1831, book 5: "The 15th century everything changes. Human thought discovers a mode of perpetuating itself. ... Gutenberg's letters of lead ... supersede Orpheus's letters of stone. ... The invention of printing is the greatest event in history. It is the mother of revolution. ..."
Victor Hugo continued: "Whether it be Providence or Fate, Gutenberg is the precursor of Luther."
In "A Tramp Abroad," 1880, Mark Twain wrote: "We made a short halt at Frankfort-on-the-Main. ... I would have liked to visit the birthplace of Gutenberg, but ... no memorandum of the house has been kept."
Napoleon introduced the printing press into Egypt when he invaded in 1798.
On Aug. 12, 1993, Pope John Paul II gave a rare copy of the Gutenberg Bible to President Bill Clinton at Denver's Regis University in Colorado. While in Colorado, the Pope, with Vice President Al Gore in attendance, addressed over 375,000 at Cherry Creek State Park, Aug. 15, 1993: "At no other time in history, the 'culture of death' has assumed a social and institutional form of legality to justify the most horrible crimes against humanity ... massive taking of lives of human beings even before they are born. ... Any reference to a 'law' guaranteed by the Creator is absent. ... No longer is anything considered intrinsically 'good' and 'universally binding.' ... Vast sectors of society are confused about what is right and what is wrong and are at the mercy of those with the power to 'create' opinion and impose it on others. ..."
George Orwell wrote in "Politics vs. Literature: An Examination of Gulliver's Travels" (Polemic, September/October 1946): "In a Society in which there is no law, and in theory no compulsion, the only arbiter of behavior is public opinion. But public opinion, because of the tremendous urge to conformity in gregarious animals, is less tolerant than any system of law. ... The individual ... is under continuous pressure to make him behave and think in exactly the same way as everyone else."
Pope John Paul II continued: "The family especially is under attack. ... The weakest members of society are the most at risk. The unborn, children, the sick, the handicapped, the old. ... Do not be afraid to go out on the streets and into public places. ... This is no time to be ashamed of the Gospel. It is a time to preach it from the rooftops. ... You must feel the full urgency of the task. Woe to you if you do not succeed in defending life."
The word "Bible" comes from the Greek word "biblia" meaning books, as it is a collection of many Old Testament and New Testament books, bound together in one volume. From 382 A.D. to the Renaissance and Reformation, there have been typically 73 books in the Bible. The Eastern Orthodox Bible has 78, the Geneva Bible has 80 and the Ethiopian Bible has 81. In 1625, the King James Bible was revised to the number to 66 books.
Since Gutenberg's invention of the printing press in mid-1400's, the Holy Bible has been the most printed book in all of world history, estimated at over 6 billion copies.
In 1917, Woodrow Wilson stated: "The Bible is the word of life."
Franklin D. Roosevelt stated October 6, 1935: "The four hundredth anniversary of the printing of the first English Bible is an event of great significance. ... The ... influence of this greatest of books ... so greatly affected the progress of Christian civilization. ... This Book continues to hold its unchallenged place as the most loved, the most quoted and the most universally read and pondered of all the volumes. ... It continues to hold its supreme place as the Book of books. ..."
FDR concluded: "We cannot read the history of our rise and development as a Nation, without reckoning with the place the Bible has occupied in shaping the advances of the Republic. ... Its teaching ... is ploughed into the very heart of the race. Where we have been truest and most consistent in obeying its precepts we have attained the greatest measure of contentment and prosperity."
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