Oral vs. Literate Cultures, corrected

The Living World

So, people told memorable stories that were tied to distinct landscape and/or distinct environmental markers, in order that their offspring would then enact specific patterns that they would then benefit from.

This is Landscape Mnemonics 101. The ability to embed in a given place behaviors that your kids will follow. And their kids, etc.

All you have to do to start is to find things in the landscape that have a sense of permanence (mountains, rivers, hardy features). Bonus for things that naturally stick out / evoke awe / feel sacred. Resilient Cultures double-down on this method by deliberately reshaping the landscape over time with their own add-ons through rituals.

Side note: this actually acts as a great encryption as well, because if you don’t know the stories or the landscape, you lack the necessary triggers to fully immerse. Basically, you have to join the culture for full integration.

Fun, yes? But what does this have to do with writing?

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