Writing and Intimations of Mortality

Robert Bringhurst
The Solid Form of Language: An Essay on Writing and Meaning
Gaspereau Press, 2004

The final section worth quoting in full with its carefully stacked repetitions of keywords:

A script is not a language — and the classification of scripts is as different from the classification of languages as the classification of clothes is from the classification of people. Writing, nevertheless, is many things, used by different people in many different ways. In itself, it is both less and more than language. More because it can develop into rich and varied forms of graphic art. Less because, much as we love it, it is not an inescapable part of the human experience or the perennial human condition. If language is lost, humanity is lost. If writing is lost, certain kinds of civilization and society are lost, but many other kinds remain — and there is no reason to think that those alternatives are inferior. Humans lived on the earth successfully — and so far as we know, quite happily — for a hundred thousand years without the benefit of writing. They have never lived, nor ever yet been happy, so far as we know, in the absence of language.
Script is extra. But such a vital vibrant extra.

And so for day 2353