What is the importance of knowing how to write? This question, although it may seem a bit silly, has more implications than we usually consider. Used as we are to "know" read and write, to do it every day, we use language as another tool, with the same disdain or unconsciousness with which we use so many other things in our lives.
However, when we become aware of the power of expression, we begin to see language differently. How much of what we do daily revolves around an act of communication? The greeting we give to the first people we meet in the morning, the talks with our loved ones, the exchanges with our coworkers, the bureaucratic process in which we are involved ... How much of that is smooth and simple and how many times not Do we seem to run into one difficulty followed by another? And what of that would change if we could express ourselves better, more clearly or more accurately?
In this video, Professor Jordan Peterson (who has recently jumped to fame and hence the controversy) explains the power of knowing how to write, of being able to articulate an idea with coherence and clarity and, ultimately, of knowing how to think. "If they can think, speak and write correctly they will be truly lethal: nothing can stand in their way, " says Peterson at a certain point in his presentation, and later on he does not hesitate to describe this ability as "the most dangerous" that can be given A person.
After the video we add the transcript of it and a link possibly useful for those who seek to deepen the desire to know how to write.
It is very difficult to teach someone to write because it takes a lot of time. Qualifying a good essay, that's simple: 'there you go, 10, you did everything right'. Rate a bad essay? Wow The words are wrong, the sentences are wrong, the sentences are wrong and not well ordered in the paragraphs, the paragraphs are inconsistent and the text as a whole makes no sense ... Wanting to tell a person where he was wrong is like saying: 'Well, you did everything wrong, everything in this essay is wrong.' But that is not useful either. You have to find the small elements that are half well done and also show the errors. And that is truly laborious. For my part I have sought to favor production instead of qualification. But the best thing you can do is teach writing, because there is no difference between knowing and thinking. Some of the universities that I have never understood is that nobody ever tells students why they have to write something. They are told: 'You have to do this job.' 'Well, why are they writing?' 'Because they need the qualification' And it's not like that! They need to learn to think! Because thinking makes them act effectively in the world. Thinking makes them win the battles they face, which can be for good goals. If they can think, speak and write correctly they will be truly lethal: nothing can stand in their way. That's why they are learning to write. I can't believe this isn't told. Writing is the most powerful weapon you can give someone. I know many amazingly successful people, I've seen them throughout my life. They are people with whom no one would like to argue. They tear anyone apart easily. But not by bad intention. It's just that if you defend your own argument against people like that, you better have your ideas sorted, because if you're not going to look (and be) a real fool. You will not get anywhere. But if you can formulate your arguments consistently, if you can present them, if you can talk to others and develop a proposal ... go! People will give you money, you will have opportunities, influence ... That's why they are in college, that's why they do what they do. (Are you in English, isn't it? Ah, Languages ... Anyway). Teach people to be articulated, because that is the most dangerous thing they can be. That is stimulating for someone. Whoever knows this, well ... why are you learning to write? Because there is your sword, there is your M16, your bulletproof vest ... This is how you learn to use them. But! Ah! That is for me the indecipherable mystery ... Why is that not obvious to everyone? It is one of those things that can drive you crazy if you try to understand them. It's as if there was a conspiracy to attract people to the education system to make them weaker ... I guess that keeps the competition under control ... Maybe that's a way of thinking about all this. If your students are stupid, then they won't challenge you.
In the minutes before the start of this video, Peterson talks about a guide he wrote to write an essay (in fact, in the second 00:40, he refers to it). For those interested, this document is available in this link (in English; direct download by clicking).
Also in Pajama Surf: The 42 rules of Professor Jordan Peterson to have a meaningful life