The pen is mightier than the sword as said by Edward Bulwer-Lytton an English novelist in 1939, in one of his play, Richelieu; Or, the Conspiracy (generally shorten Richelieu) is a statement that has gained historical significance. This proverb means, words are mightier than weapons. In other words, words are superior to actions and in the case of this proverb, superior to deadly arsenals like sword and in our days, firepower. Therefore in the past, a literate (learned person through formal education) was perceived to be more important and powerful in the society. They held all the most important positions in the communities and were the most respected.
Today in the 21st Century, the most powerful tool effective for accomplishing purposes in the fastest and broadest sense is not The Pen but The Internet. This presupposes that a highly internet literate is very powerful.
If the Internet was invented by one particular person, like many inventions throughout history, one will not be in err to say that the greatest invention of all time is the Internet. People like Tim Berners-Lee (WWW), Charles Babbage (computer), Ray Tomlinson (E-mail), Sam Divita (Fibre Optics), and Larry Roberts (Arpanet) are a host of those who contributed massively to the development of the Internet from the mid 20th Century until now.
The internet started out as a project undertaken by the United States Department of Defence called the ARPANET or the Advanced Research Projects Agency Network. It was invented for sharing data between multiple nodes spaced over larger distances. The contribution of internet in our lives surpasses any single invention in history, though its creation was made possible by other inventions in history.
A quote from History.com reads “Prior to the rise of the Internet, no innovation did more for the spread and democratization of knowledge than Johannes Gutenberg’s printing press.” Noting that, even though Johannes Gutenberg’s printing press did a lot, the internet has far surpassed it. If Martin Luther’s 95 theses (Disputation on the Power and Efficacy of Indulgences) reached many parts of Europe after many days because of Johannes Gutenberg’s press, then it would have reached the whole world in a matter of seconds with the Internet.
Listing the importance and impact the internet has made since 1969 till now will be an understated cliche. Instant messaging, video calling, online campaigns and researches, online marketing, trade wars, internet banking, conspiracy theories, publishing, file sharing, blogging, online training, google earth, travel agencies, news, etc. these are but a few of the areas the Internet has boosted since its inception.
The Internet has its negatives as well as positives, just as any other innovation and invention in history. In the wrong hands, the pen can be used to steal, spread false information and even seal the doom of another person. Unless you are a 13 year old or younger, you will know what the internet can also do in the wrong hands.
Let us compare influences of these powerful personalities: President Donald Trump (USA, Pen) vs Mark Zuckerberg (facebook, whatApp and Instagram, Internet), President Vladimir Putin (Russia, Pen) vs Larry Page (Google and Youtube, Internet), President Xi Jinping (China, Pen) vs Jack Ma (Alibaba, Internet), Jeff Bezos (Amazon, Internet) vs Prime Minister Boris Johnson (UK, Pen). These heads of state are arguably known to be the most powerful men in the world, however, the internet personalities have made more influence and impact in our world today.
The development of technology has also made sure that the invention of the internet is still on-going. With the current race on 5G, which is also topic for another day, and other internet innovations, the power of the internet is yet to fulfill it potential.
In conclusion, whatever the Pen can do, the internet will do them in multiples.