Tradition of men

Fela Anikulapo Kuti of blessed memory sang “teacher don’t teach me nonsense” where he sang and I paraphrase;
“As children, our parents are our teachers.
When in school, “teacher be teacher”. In the University (lecturer is the teacher)
Then ultimately Culture and Tradition becomes governments teacher…”

The main difference between culture and tradition is that traditions describes beliefs and behaviors that are passed down from a generation to another while culture describes the shared characteristics of the entire group, that has been entrenched throughout the groups history

Our culture shapes the way we work and relate, and it makes a difference in how we view ourselves and others. It affects our values – as in those things we consider right or wrong. This is how the society we live in influences our choices. But our choices can also influence others and ultimately help shape our society.

The tradition of the printing industry was set both by the 9th and 15th century invention, especially the later with the screw-type wine press to squeeze down evenly on the inked metal type, which was a major factor to unlocking the age we now call modern. This discovery empowered the literate. It was now possible to mass-produce books on every topic that could be imagined on earth and this production had become inexpensive, once its not expensive you can be sure of the mass reaching effects, so easily revolutionary ideas and priceless ancient knowledge were placed in the hands of every literate European, it became an in thing to be literate and this was thanks to the invention of a printing press.

The Bible was quickly mass produced, so were many books which also gave rise to a distribution network, and then the world started experiencing the profitability of printing books… but this profitability opened up without Gutenberg, who unfortunately died penniless, his presses impounded by his creditors. Other German printers fleeing for greener pastures, eventually arriving in Venice, which was the central shipping hub of the Mediterranean in the late 15th century. From here printers developed the news media, people began to appreciate the important of sharing knowledge.

“Printing is the ultimate gift of God and the greatest one.” is a famous quote attributed to Martin Luther, that popular German religious reformer that sums up the role of the printing press in the Protestant Reformation. He gave birth to the concept of “best sellers”, many thanks to the printing press because radical people could also find their voices and those voices were heard loudly and clearly.

How about the scientific revolution? Scientists were limited by distance (geography) and language. Duplicating discoveries and thoughts was simply impossible, until the printing press resolved this problems, no wonder we read the quotes of That English philosopher, Francis Bacon, in the 16th century he developed the scientific method. Listen to his quotation and ponder on it – “The three inventions that forever changed the world were gunpowder, nautical compass and the printing press.” All I can say is hmnnnn!

Many wonder why it is called the printing industry, could it be because it’s the plug for powering many other industries and a means of giving a voice to the voiceless, even here in Nigeria?

Imagine the kind of tradition laid down for our industry, one of enlightenment, one that cuts across many professions, I hear someone say Tradition is only peer pressure from the old (the dead), so I am asking you that will Gutenberg be happy with you? Have you kept that tradition of precision, of leadership, of path setting, of adding value to other sectors? Sir, Ma, will Gutenberg be happy with you?

Tradition is the root; believe me, the profession is deeply rooted as you can see. Culture however is the shoot; when last did we shoot an innovation? I vividly remember those who took the initial risk with Direct Imaging – the real DI and not the digital printers that we call DI today. They took a great risk that brought a sector to prominence, they also got better for it. I remember those who pioneered Computer to Plate in Nigeria. i vividly remember how the quality of our newspaper printing came about by people who believed in making it happen when none saw the possibilities. The industry is built on a culture of innovation, and there is no excuse to ensuring the culture is passed down to the next generation, in fact innovations makes much more sense when all is at its lowest ebb as things are at the moment.

Who is ready to lead?

  1. Always refreshing to read your perspectives – different, simple but deep. Would never have imagined reading about this profession in this light. Keep up the good work!

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