Let me explore this question starting from thinking. Thinking, in its undefinable form, seems to be at the root of all cognitive tasks. Writing, like speaking, is interactive thinking. With each stroke or type, we materialise our thinking. We engage in a relationship with the page and attempt, through a sequence of such actions, at representing our thoughts. This is the first important property of writing, its genesis from the interaction between thoughts and symbols. This property is often implicit in the advice of writing to clarify one’s thoughts or to make a decision. Forcing thoughts to interact with symbols imposes a stronger reality check on them and can help to make our conclusions or decisions sounder.
The second property of writing I explore emerges at the opposite end of its lifetime. Writing produces symbols, objects that concretely exists in physical matter, being the data on a computer or marks on a page. The symbols outlive the experience of writing. This is interesting because extends writing from a process that creates in the present to one that connects with the future, a uni-directional time machine. Even more so, since the symbols we write are intelligible to other humans, this makes writing a meaningful connection to the future: a way to communicate with it. In this respect, writing obtains an appealing shade of eternity.