Our Abstract World in Symbols

By: Mark Estil, Cedric Jamera, Angelo Nobleza


Imagine a world where everything around us is not actually real. Imagine a world where only our train of thoughts guide the planes of reality. Now, imagine a world where our thoughts, imaginations, and dreams can be shared with a group of fellow human beings with ease and with both of you understanding each other with the help of symbols and characters. That is the world where we live in.

“Orality” or primary oral culture are said to be very different from “literacy” or literary cultures in various other ways. Some experts say that both have their own similarities. Both have their own advantages and disadvantages depending in their uses, their application in the real world or in the abstract way of thinking, and to the culture that they are associated with.

The reality is, both are very well-connected to one another as they are indistinct to each other. They are both dissimilar in a way that orality or oral literature depends on the situation rather than the abstract ways of communicating. But, they can also be connected in a way that both use concrete examples to explain  an abstract thought more thoroughly.

Both do not coincide with one another in a way that, as Orality can persist as a sole medium of communication for a society. However, orality can only be exercised only up to the extent to which direct human interaction is permitted. On the other hand, one of the simplest examples of using concrete ideas to depict an abstract thought is through the use of real life examples to explain concepts which are vague, in-explicit, or unclear.

Another noticeable difference between the oral culture and literary culture is the oral culture being additive rather than subordinate. An example stated in Ong’s book “Orality and Literacy” is the creation narrative in Genesis 1:1-5 where the additive way of communication can be perceived.

Unlike oral culture, literary culture has a more organized but sophisticated way of communicating since it follows a proper structure to avoid misunderstanding in the meaning of the message they want to convey.



Ong, Walter J. 1982. Orality and Literacy: The Technologizing of the Word. London: Methuen, pp.31, 37-49

Orality and Literacy – In What Ways Are Oral and Literate Cultures Similar? (2012, September 30). Retrieved from https://blogs.ubc.ca/etec540sept12/2012/09/30/1150/


Orality and Literacy: An Appreciation of Importance and Purpose

“Does time really measure the power of a concept?

         After reading Ong’s perspective towards orality and literacy, this question seems to pinpoint the problem of the statement implying that “orality is inferior to literacy”. But, is it even true? Or is it just another misconception?

         Before diving into the pond, let us first take an initial dip into the subject and define the two most important terms here: Orality and Literacy. Orality, as most of us understand, simply means the use of speech rather than writing as means of communication. On the other hand, literacy, with our basic understanding, means the ability of a person to read and write in a way that lets us communicate effectively.

     However, in today’s society, there’s still a division between orality and literacy wherein some people think that orality is inferior to literacy or the other way around. It is still not clear on why and how they can be inferior, or superior, from one another because of the unique advantages and disadvantages they possess. For example, orality demands the need to repeat the message again and again to be remembered while literacy has a copy that serves as a solid evidence of the message. On the other hand, in orality, communication is made on a personal level so it is much more direct thus no misunderstandings. Unlike in literacy, where there could be more than one interpretation of the written message.

     So, contrary to the belief, there is actually no solid premise that could say that orality is inferior to literacy just because literacy came after orality. In fact, according to Ong (2002), they are co-dependent with each other in the sense that when you read a written text, your mind speaks it out. So, it shouldn’t be a battle of superiority, rather, it should be the appreciation of its importance and purpose in communication.


Ong, Walter (2002). Orality and Literacy. The Technologizing of the Word. Routledge, New York.


Chiara Mari Ricablanca and Karl Sorenio

Media Ecological Perspective on Free Speech — L.M. Sacasas

Rhetoric in oral cultures tends to be, in Walter Ong’s phrasing, “agonistically toned.” Ong noted that speech in oral societies was more like an event or action than it was a label or sign. Words did things (curses, blessings, incantations, etc.), and irrevocably so. This was so, in part, because speech in oral societies was uttered […]

via Media Ecological Perspective on Free Speech — L.M. Sacasas