January 17, 2015

Why is calligraphy still important in modern times?

The keyboard reigns supreme at the moment, with real and virtual keys on a vast array of communication products. The promise of a post-keyboard era is on the horizon, with more accurate voice-to-text software and swipable text devices.  Is calligraphy still important in modern times?  With its clunky array of physical tools and messy ink, is it a relic of the past — or is it the ultimate in “swipable” direct-to-text with the only software required being the human brain?

Here’s the entry I provided on Quora to the same question:

anicca_Palmstone.com_2015Calligraphy remains important in modern times for many of the reasons that it was important in ancient times.  Writing by hand is no longer essential for daily life.  Books, articles, correspondence, invoices, contracts and many other items can be handled by keyboards, voice activated devices and other modern technologies. This can be viewed as a kind of liberation, because calligraphy can now be utilized for purposes that technology cannot replicate.

I teach calligraphy in Chinese, Arabic, Devanagari and Latin scripts.  I also practice calligraphy daily. What is that calligraphy can do?  It improves eye-hand coordination. It teaches composition and balance. To produce beautiful calligraphy that combines strong energetic marks with flow and balance, the practitioner must learn how to embody those qualities in him or herself. As such calligraphy is akin to practicing meditation, or tai chi, or martial arts, or any number of other disciplines that combine physical activity and inner awareness.

The calligrapher learns how to be grounded and centered, how to circulate movement and energy in a controlled and flowing manner, how to extend that flow throughout the body and into the back, shoulder, arm and hand and then on through to the brush or pen. The result on paper is the visual mark of the inner process.

One final benefit of practicing calligraphy is that you will view historic and contemporary works of calligraphic art with much greater insight and appreciation!

Start your calligraphy practice today!