With words we begin to leave traces behind us like breadcrumbs: memories in symbols for others to follow. Ants deploy their pheromones, trails of chemical information; Theseus unwound Ariadne's thread. Now people leave paper trails.
The dead speak to the living, the living to the unborn.
So many great moments already in this book. Here's a few:
Every new medium transforms the nature of human thought. In the long run, history is the story of information becoming aware of itself.
He goes way back to the Greeks and their use of fire beacons in the Trojan War:
The meaning of the message had, of course, to be prearranged, effectively condensed into a single bit. A binary choice, something or nothing: the fire signal meant something, which, just this once, meant "Troy has fallen." To transmit this one bit required immense planning, labor, watchfulness, and firewood. Many years later, lanterns in Old North Church likewise sent Paul Revere a single precious bit, which he carried onward, one binary choice: by land or by sea.