(...or part of the devolution of man. I must be nuts to have written something like this.)
This is the type of thing I think about when I can't sleep, at 4 in the morning, prompted by a post the other day over at Bad Example about ipads, or tablets... Tablet is a great name for it come to think of it. Of course, I had thought of the concept many times before, but not with such clarity as can be found in the dark when you are supposed to be sleeping. (I wrote pretty much all of this at that time, but I wasn't too sure if it was coherent or just silly. So tonight, reading it over, I just did a little tweaking, but it still seems rather silly.)
Have you ever thought about how long it took man to develop his communication skills? Making a face to signify something disagreeable, flailing his arms about to signal distress, discovering the usefulness of the index finger to point at things that he wanted to bring to your attention. Of course he didn't find his voice right away, but he knew he could make sounds... guttural sounds... grunts. A grunt accompanied by the pointing of a finger worked wonders. Then, finding handy tools, like a branch or a rock to draw pictures in the sand. Ooh... discovering that you could throw mud on things and make pretty pictures... like on your face or a rock face. Then one day when eating berries, you accidentally touched your face and someone was using their index finger at you and making funny sounds. You looked at your fingers to find they had changed colour because of the berry juice, so some genius decided to use it to make story pictures on a cave wall. Or with the discovery of fire, using the burnt end of a stick to do the same. Then at some point, the pictures evolved into symbols or runes or characters representing things. Man learned to make other sharp pointy objects and found he could use these to gouge things into rock... tablets of rock. He managed to learn how to weave materials he found into cloth. He could use the natural dyes from berries and charcoal from the burnt sticks to make his marks on this as well. Then... the symbols became individual letters, those letters joined together to form words, those words to sentences. Man had learned how to move his mouth by this time having gone from grunts to mono-syllabic commands, and eventually learned how to speak clearly (sometimes) and write, and rather eloquently I might add... Fast forward to a time where it was becoming too cumbersome to have to write all those letters, all those words, all those sentences with your hand and a writing implement, and man created a machine that you just had to press the buttons with the character on it and that character was imprinted onto a piece of paper for you. This was indeed much more efficient. Of course, prior to that, man had also learned the art of mathematics and had developed an adding machine, but that's not really part of this conversation. Anyways, always trying to improve efficiency, there came the invention of boxes joined together with wires and circuits where you could edit your words on the box in front of your face instead of exhausting your fingers typing, re-typing and re-typing, wasting paper and ink everytime you made a mistake. Then came the minimizing, trying to make things more flexible, versatile, mobile, accessible. Oh, and in the meantime a device was created where you used your handy index finger to rotate a dial on a box and talk into another piece that you held in your hand. This was connected by poles and cables across the land to enable you to talk to someone next door and even around the world. Eventually the wires needed to go and through much weeding and whittling down, the box became a wee thing with a screen and buttons, then a miniature keyboard, all smaller than the size of your hand. Through man's innovation and creativity, all you had to do was touch the screen instead of having to hit a whole bunch of tiny buttons. So, thusly man hath discovered his index finger and need only grunt to communicate.
(Oh, and another thing. One can probably figure out from this why it is that I am not very fond of abbreviations, emoticons and in particular text-based emoticons.)