“As a duplicating machine, the printing press not only made texts cheaper and more accessible; its real power was to make them stable. ‘Scribal culture,’ Eisenstein wrote, was ‘constantly enfeebled by erosion, corruption, and loss.’ Print was trustworthy, reliable, and permanent.” (The Information, James Gleick page 400)
The printing press was one of the most influential and important innovations of all of human history. Though, there are arguments to where and when it first arrived, the impact it had on human advancement was incredible. Because of its efficiency it allowed many people, poor and rich, to learn, stay up to date, and access information. The fact that it allowed people to access information is the most important breakthrough that this invention caused. It caused our memories and history to rapidly move towards a future based on the truth of fact. In my opinion, this invention sparked the beginning of the information era.
Though, the printing press’ mass production of information lead to scientific and cultural enlightenments, there are some downsides to the fact that so much is open for the world to see. Years down the road from the printing press, people seem to run into too much information. At every turn, there is another spam email or another link to a bizarre activist site. People are constantly under fire from messages all around them and can barely process the most important ones. It is even hard to determine which messages are lies and which are trustworthy.
Due to the increase in available information in the years since the invention of the printing press, people can spend lifetimes only accumulating it. Some people think that the key to knowledge is only by gaining more information, but in actuality, knowledge is gained through practice, experimentation, and experience. Knowledge is the ability take information, understand it, and create something with it. The printing press started us on this road with available information, but it is our job to use it as knowledge and with enough experience, wisdom.