The essence of a pen in a society

Juliet Rogers 1 - Copy

By Juliet Rogers, Sierra Leone

Essence of the Pen in society argues that: “When the Pens fall silent when they ought not to be, there will be total anarchy”. 

The Pen here signifies authoritative communication. The writing instrumentality does not have to be an actual pen, it could be any writing tool from a computer keyboard or even a video. The essential thing is that it is communication that goes far and wide which people can read and understand.

Communication is the key method to express one’s interests, concerns and fears to friend and foe alike. If there is no way to communicate near and far in solid written form, knowledge won’t spread and Society won’t function properly. Just imagine how busy the Pen has been to produce all those books, journals, magazines, newspapers, executive orders, street signs, etc.


Timely and clear written communication gets governments to inform a country’s residents near and far; allow countries to trade and maintain good relations, to make peace and prevent wars or internal disorders and to permit good governance. Without proper means of communication, the police, the judiciary, schools, hospitals, governments, militaries, etc. cannot function properly.

Photo by Kelly Sikkema

The Pen makes the world go round. Research, Inventions and all kinds of studies require the power to write so that knowledge can be accumulated, stored and dispersed as needed. Because no one can keep all the knowledge he/she needs to function effectively in any society in his/her head, the Pen is indispensable.

Photo by Debby Hudson

Families and friends separated by distance may need written communications to keep in touch. The chalk a teacher uses on the black board is a special type of pen that does wonders for education in many lands.

When there are disputes, the parties may need to communicate in a form that would prevent misunderstandings, especially of serious types, especially between nations. Thus, the Pen and the writings it produces come in handily here.


It has been successfully argued that the Pen is mightier than the Sword! This truism has been confirmed again and again. The power to communicate clearly across the Globe is what ends wars and make weapons idle. In all wars that come to an end, the peace has to be negotiated. Here weapons are not used, only communications.

In the meantime, reflect on these words:

“The pen is the tongue of the soul; as the thoughts engendered there, so will be the things written.” – Miguel De Cervantes

Photo by Mike Wilson

The Pen represents human intelligence, not raw savage power. The party that relies on brute force would end up losing. It is the human power to communicate not fight roughly that will guarantee peace.

The RUFP/AFRC war in Sierra Leone was defeated by Ex-President Tejan Kabbah because he relied on diplomatic communications to defeat the brutal rebels who perhaps, had no one to communicate effectively for them.

All the same, I still have the courage of my own convictions to say that, the pen is a calligraphic instrument and mighty weapon which when employed, cuts both ways, like money. It depends on how it is wielded.

In the 18th century, French Writers such as: Jean-Jacques Rousseau (1712-78) and Charles Louis Montesquieu (1689-1755) made contributions that resulted in considerable impact on society. The ideas of the former, played a key role in the development of modern democracy. As for the latter, one of his greatest works if not the greatest, ‘Esprit des lois’ swayed future political thinking.

Photo by Kelly Sikkema

I have once said, and I am saying it again, when the pens fall silent when they ought not to be, there will be total anarchy in society. No one else can uphold meliorism save our very selves!

We know Journalism – a beautiful and noble profession, concerns itself with informing, educating and entertaining the readership of a decent press which is not gagged and like the listenership of reliable broadcasters also. This is a perfect vehicle. Anybody who knows what Journalism is all about will say that a Journalist lives by his pen.

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Writers in general, often give vent to their pent-up feelings regarding a sought-after change, even if the price to pay is writer’s cramp.

From traditional folk sayings of the Arabs, the following is a description of the pen on page 230 of the book entitled, ”The Wisdom of the Arabs”: “The pen is a tree whose fruits are words, while thought is a sea whose pearls are wisdom”.

Photo by Mikhail Pavstyuk
A quote of Abu Dawood was also mentioned on page 228 ibid: “The pen is the mind’s ambassador, its most noble messenger, its most eloquent tongue, and its best interpreter”. Interesting and thought-provoking! In fact, in accordance with my research findings, there’s a whole chapter in the Qur’an_Al-Qalam (Surah 68) meaning “The PEN”.

Photo by Aaron Burden

Let me hasten to say this: To those who work corruption on earth, beware of the fatal and incisive wound of the pen which even the surgeon specialist cannot suture with ease. Robert Burton, in ‘The Anatomy of Melancholy,’ 1621 AD, wrote: “From this, it is clear how much more cruel the pen may be than the sword.”

Thomas Jefferson sent a letter to Thomas Paine in 1796, in which he wrote: “Go on doing with your pen what in other times was done with the sword: shew that reformation is more practicable by operating on the mind than on the body of man.”
So, scribes, keep your heads up! It is beyond dispute that the pen can make a difference to a situation.

The writer, Juliet Rogers, is a Sociètal Engineer, Life & Emotional Intelligence Coach.

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