I was looking at a post box yesterday, when I suddenly got thinking about what a miracle the post must have been when it first started. I mean before the days of the Royal Mail and the Penny Post, getting a message to somebody who was far distant would have been challenging to say the least.
You could get on a horse, or a carriage and travel personally to speak the message, but that would be pretty time consuming, especially if they lived in a far flung corner of the empire. If you had lots of servants I suppose one could have been dispatched with a hand written letter, sealed with wax of course to preserve privacy! Otherwise you would be at the mercy of hoping that somebody who might be going somewhere near where you wanted your message to go, would just happen to visit you. All a bit haphazard and random to say the least.
It has me thinking that ideas and thoughts existed in small isolated bubbles, in local groups of friends who would meet up physicaly to talk and share. Often in a pub I suspect, and usually all male! How amazingly liberating it must have been to be able to walk to the corner and pop a letter, filled with who knows what, into the post box, secure in the knowledge it would reach its recipient not matter where they were.
It must have revolutionised thinking and the growth of ideas! Releasing ideas from the cages of individual minds. Setting ideas free to fly through the brains of others, to be enhanced, embraced or rejected.
Now a new and even more explosive revolution has been released across the globe…electronic communication….and countries where no reliable postal service was ever developed ( there are some surprising members of this group…Dubai for starters) can still join in and catch up and contribute to globally shared ideas and thoughts. Amazing really, and it has all happened in the blink of an eye 🙂
Ideas are always supposed to be free, and the world wide web has been our biggest leap forward in ths area. Yes it means other more traditional routes for thinking and ideas might be challenged……just think of the academic ideas which we can all research now if we care to, no longer held bound up in university libraries….difficult to obtain and needing returned speedily…….now mostly available electronically. How much easier this made my recent studies! Even the Postal Service itself is now under threat here in Britain, with private courriers taking most of the lucrative business, as hardly anyone sends personal letters anymore. I do miss letters, the excitement of opening them up, the tangible feel of them in my hands, and the physical link with another.
Progress always involves change, and change always involves some loss before the new growth! So perhaps I shouldn’t be so sad about the loss of letters, but instead focus on my love of the Internet and the freedom it brings to the movement of ideas 🙂
Messenger of Sympathy and Love
Servant of Parted Friends
Consoler of the Lonely
Bond of the Scattered Family
Enlarger of the Common Life
Carrier of News and Knowledge
Instrument of Trade and Industry
Promoter of Mutual Acquaintance
Of Peace and of Goodwill Among Men and Nations
verse by T.S.Elliot