The world is full of change right now. The technological revolution upon us for a few years now – social media and the personal computer in particular – has brought change to how we communicate with each other.
We don’t call, we text. We don’t read the newspaper, we read a blog. We don’t send letters, we email. We don’t consult the encyclopedia, we Google.
But the mother of all that change has definitely got to be the printing press.
The printing press, invented in 1440 by Johannes Gutenberg, ushered in the modern world we live in today.
Before Gutenberg, communication was slow to travel from place to place. Either on foot or on horseback, news of the day was seldom if ever known by even the next village over.
Enter the printing press of 1440. From that invention, news and information traveled swiftly. We entered an age of the first information superhighway.
And with the growth of commerce during that time, an ordinary merchant could send their children to school to learn how to read.
Writing before Gutenberg took months of time written down by the scribes of the day. Before Gutenberg, only rich princes and clergymen could read. Afterwards, many others became literate for the first time.
The printing press was the catalyst for change. People like Martin Luther, Galileo Galilei, and the 18th century Enlightenment philosophers could spread their ideas quickly to a public hungry for the latest news.
Without the printing press, the modern religious, scientific, and political revolutions would not have happened. They would have been censured and condemned by the authorities with the thinkers burned at stakes as heretics.
Today, the second information superhighway brought about by another technological invention – the personal computer and the miniature transistor to make things smaller and convenient to handle – continues the tradition of the printing press by bringing about change.
Without the printing press, the second information superhighway would not have existed. Without the free flow of information, change occurs slowly if at all.
Think of the printing press and be amazed.