I am a print veteran… have worked in the print industry since I started full time work in 1976, with just a couple of years doing something else in the mid-nineties, which led me back to the printing industry.
Johannes Gutenberg’s invention of the first printing press is arguably the most important invention in human history as it made the communication of ideas and information on a large scale possible. Without printing there would have been no Renaissance, no industrial revolution, no widespread education and no Democracy. As Howard Rheingold said "The printing press simply unlocked literacy"
In many ways the Internet can be seen as the printing press of the technology age, and it provides quicker, cheaper and easier access to ideas and information than the printing press ever could. It comes with far more inherent dangers because of that but however serious those dangers, we must resist government censorship, or ultimately this will lead to the end of Democracy.
This article is titled “Printing and the Nature of Reality” What am I getting at? Whilst I have always liked the Lennon / McCartney 'definition' from "Strawberry Fields" — "Nothing is real", I am splitting Reality into two sections, with apologies to philosophers and scientists who I am sure would be able to challenge my probably over-simplified definitions.
1) The physical World
2) The interior World of ideas, emotions, information, thought, consciousness, imagination
A book exists in the physical world, you can touch it, feel it, smell it and see it. It provides a window into the interior world. An e-book does very much the same thing and it also exists in the physical world, but engages fewer of our senses. I contend that as a result its window to the interior world is less transparent. The fact is people prefer to read books than e-books, despite the fact they are more expensive and in many ways less convenient. As many of our lives are increasingly spent in front of screens, the way print manages to engage us is probably because of its clear existence in the physical world. Strawberry Fields could be rewritten "Nothing is real—except for printing maybe"
There is no doubt, however, that the Internet is here to stay and will evolve. Printing is no longer the main conduit between the physical world and the interior world, but there is another big change going on. 3D printing is correctly defined as a printing technique but its purpose is to make things for the material world, and it is developing at a rate of knots. The person recognised as the father of 3D printing, the American Chuck Hull was eighty in May. He is the Gutenberg of our time.
Printing—for centuries it was the main way to express ideas and provide information—the link between the material and the interior worlds. It is no longer the most widely used method, but it remains the most effective, and it has now evolved into being a way to create useful objects for the material world itself.
I love my industry and am a Proud Printer. Strawberry Fields should be rewritten "Printing is real"